New Orleans Saints players took a break from football on Monday to talk about a special charitable endeavor. Roman Harper and Lance Moore have joined forces with eight other Saints teammates and United Way to take part in the Hope for the Holidays project, helping rebuild homes damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Isaac.
Harper and retired Saints safety Darren Sharper were the two initial players to spearhead the Saints’ involvement with the service project three years ago. Since then Moore, running backs Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles, offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Jermon Bushrod, safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Courtney Roby have joined them in making a difference for families displaced from their homes.
Harper presented United Way on Monday with a $25,000 check for the rebuilding efforts, and he said it’s “heartwarming” to see the families’ excitement about returning home after the rebuilding efforts from Hope for the Holidays.
“We started off with just two homes with just a couple of people out to see us; we’re at 14 homes now,” Harper said. “It’s a fun thing and neat how it’s gotten so big with so many of my teammates involved … you actually seem like you’re part of the family because you saw their houses before and now you get to see how now the girl is picking out the color of her bedroom. They’re so happy.”
Moore said it was “a no-brainer” to participate. He will be honored with the “Hope Award” at the Hope for the Holidays Gala on Dec. 14 at the Hyatt Regency hotel.
“It’s not about us being on TV every Sunday, it’s not all about us trying to make as much money as possible, or to win 17 Super Bowl rings,” Moore said. “Obviously we’d all love to do that, but it’s about what you do while you’re here and how you can affect people around you.
“I was on the team when Katrina hit in 2005, and the effect it had on us as an organization I could feel it … you realize how many people need help. To be able to potentially put people back in their homes and try to get their lives back in the right direction just a little bit, that’s what this thing is all about.”