Saints' Porter offers early Christmas for Louisiana family

PORT ALLEN, La. -- New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter spent his only day off this week hauling furniture for a family whose house burned down last month.

It was a special delivery for Yvonne Phillips, her two sons, her mother and nephew, whose house was destroyed Nov. 3 by an electrical fire. She found a rental house, but couldn't afford to furnish it."

My children were sleeping on the floor, and on air mattresses," she told WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, La.

Porter told The Advocate that he heard about the fire during a Thanksgiving dinner he held for area residents at a restaurant in Port Allen, his home town. Phillips' younger son, 12-year-old Daylon, was among people at the dinner.

"I wanted to adopt them for the holidays," Porter said.

He went furniture shopping. Porter's Pick 6 Foundation, which provides enrichment for underprivileged kids, got the family four beds, three dressers, a nightstand, kitchen supplies, video game systems and clothes.

"Some of it was donated. Some of it the retailer gave to us at a really good price because it was for a good cause and they wanted to be a part of it," he said.

On Tuesday -- his only day off this week, since the Saints are preparing for Monday's game against the Atlanta Falcons -- he followed a truck full of furniture to the house, then unloaded it and carried it in.

"Words can't describe the feeling that this gives me," said Porter.

Phillips said she came home from work about 1 a.m. on Nov. 3 and found her home engulfed in flames. She and her nephew, Ronnie got everyone safely outside, but lost all their belongings.

"I couldn't do nothing but cry," she said.

She cried again Tuesday, with tears of joy.

"With me being in the position I'm in, and having the means to help other people, that's enough incentive for me to give back," Porter said. "You can't forget where you come from. This is a close-knit community. The people have supported me, and I said that if I ever had the resources, I'd do something to give back."

Porter, who gave dozens of bicycles to children in his old neighborhood in 2009, says he now plans to adopt a family every Christmas.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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