Members of the New Orleans Saints Youth Programs department delivered football equipment to the players and coaches of the East St. John High School football team at Destrehan High School on Tuesday night.
The East St. John football program suffered extensive losses due to Hurricane Isaac and were left without the necessary equipment to compete in their first game of the season this Friday night. The team is currently practicing at Destrehan High School due to damage.
Numerous coaches across the city and region called Saints Director of Youth Programs Jason Trosclair as well as other team employees to notify the organization of the loss suffered by East St. John and their football squad.
"Everybody wanted them to play this weekend," said Trosclair. "It was just something the Saints wanted to do to give back like we always do. We want to get these guys back up and running and make sure that they can play football this weekend."
More than 380 pairs of athletic shoes were donated on behalf of the Saints organization as well as shorts, shirts and sandals. The coaches were given polo shirts and coaches shoes and each player received used cleats and game jersey pants from the team that were lightly used by the Saints. Nike also donated new cleats to the squad.
"That (generosity) comes from our Owner Tom Benson all the way down," said Trosclair. "It really fills you with a sense of pride to do something like this. What an honor to be able to represent the Saints who do so much for the people in our community in times of need."
East St. John Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Phillip Banko was moved by the gesture. He noted the generosity of the Saints and the community really shows the compassion of the region.
"When you look at the news, you always see the bad things of humanity," said Banko. "When you see this, it just brings tears to your eyes."