Sam’s Club in Covington was temporary headquarters for Off the Field, an organization of wives and girlfriends of present and former NFL players shopped for charity to help those less fortunate.
The Salvation Army selected 20 families that they serve in the greater New Orleans area to be the recipients of Sam’s Club generosity and the ladies’ spectacular taste as they selected gifts from the vast array of clothes, household goods and toys to make everyone happy this Christmas.
Sam’s Club manager Chris Cuevas said this was the first time the program has been done in the New Orleans area and the sixth year in the United States. Basically, Sam’s donates $1,000 per family, which includes sales tax. $800, or $735 plus tax was available for gifts and the rest was available for food.
Some of the Saints players represented were active players while others are retired from the game.
The families will each receive the wrapped presents to be put under their trees and food for a holiday feast. They provided holiday wish lists which included not only toys for the children, but essentials such as clothes, pots and pans, and a microwave for cooking.
The ladies group, Off the Field, gets together to perform work for charitable organizations such as community service and fundraising. The organization is dedicated to raising funds and creating awareness for local and national charitable organizations that strengthen families.
“Off The Field is dedicated to giving back to our communities. It’s a pleasure to work with Sam’s Club and The Salvation Army to provide much-needed items to individuals in New Orleans,” said Rachel McKenzie, wife of former Saint Mike McKenzie.
Of course, some of the conversation was about the team and last week’s game as they greeted each other before starting the shopping. Yes, there are very supportive of each other as any team player should be, on and off the field. They carry the weight of their players on their shoulders as they provide moral support for the players on the field.
The festive morning included the help of members of the New Orleans area Salvation Army, on hand to help shop and wrap the gifts, as well as associates and some of the members of the Sam’s Club in Covington.
Cuevas said that Sam’s Club wants to not only be a business member of the community, but also a community partner.
“We are still trying to determine what the community here wants to see in the store. We also have grants available to help community organizations and want to get involved in the community as much as possible. In addition to helping clean up with the American Red Cross after Hurricane Isaac, we also collected the Madisonville Toys for Tots. We are trying to do what we can for the community.”
Participants included Racquel Smith, wife of No. 91 Will Smith; Joy Jackson, girlfriend of Saint player No. 96 Tom Johnson; Morissa Jenkins, wife of Saints player No. 27 Malcolm Jenkins; Reagan Charleston wife of former player No. 97 Jeff Charleston; Kira Collins, wife of Jed Collins No. 45; Krystal Currie, girlfriend of Courtney Roby No. 15; Holli Severson; Rachel McKenzie, wife of former Saint Mike McKenzie No. 34; Makenzie de le Puente, wife of Brian de la Puente No. 60; Frances McKenzie, mother of Mike McKenzie; and Kassidy Thomas wife of No. 85 David Thomas, with daughter Karis.
By Debbie Glover St. Tammany News
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