METAIRIE, La. -- Taking a break from the on-field turmoil, the New Orleans Saints had a great day out in the community on Tuesday with their annual "Random Acts of Kindness" caravan and charity events hosted by Mark Ingram and Benjamin Watson.
Check out the Saints' website for some of the video highlights. And there are many more to come during this holiday season -- a time when the players' community efforts especially shine through.
Tons of individual players deserve credit for all the work they do in the community, so to start naming names would be a disservice to those I don't mention. But defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks especially stand out as guys who show up to various schools, etc., on a weekly basis. And sure enough, Jordan was involved in two of Tuesday's events.
Ingram's community efforts have always stood out to me, too, because he dove in headfirst from Day 1, even when he arrived in New Orleans with a celebrity status as a Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama.
Ingram hasn't just done splashy appearances that get a lot of attention. He routinely shows up at events around the country for current and former teammates alike.
"We're all good friends, good teammates. And so when somebody has an event for a good cause, reaching out, giving back, you just want to be a part of it," Ingram said. "And vice versa, when you have an event, they want to come show you support. So that's what it's all about, making people happy and giving back."
Tuesday's event was especially near and dear to Ingram's heart. He hosted a shopping spree at Academy Sports and Outdoors for children with incarcerated parents. Ingram's own father, former NFL standout Mark Ingram Sr., is currently incarcerated for money laundering and bank fraud.
"I'm just like you, my father is incarcerated. You don't have to be a statistic," Ingram told the children.
Ingram, who has now held the event three years in a row, said the idea came together through a collaboration with others, but it's a perfect fit for what he's always wanted to do.
"This part of the season is about giving back, making others smile and be happy," Ingram said. "That's what makes you happy in the inside is giving to others and making them smile and making them feel appreciated."