Saints running back Pierre Thomas’ ICAN foundation focuses on helping kids stay healthy and active. But for the holidays, Thomas is also helping Santa Claus. This year, he’s making sure that the young patients in Children’s Hospital have a merry Christmas by collecting new, unwrapped toys all week. Thomas’ foundation will match every gift, plus throw a party for the patients in the hospital auditorium Dec. 13. Santa will be on hand, and Thomas hinted that it might be someone we’d recognize if the uniform were black and gold instead of red with white fur trim.

Was there someone in your family who inspired you to help others? I can’t really say that it’s one person; it’s more the way my family was brought up. There has always been so much love in our family, and support. Everyone’s taking care of one another and looking out for one another. ... In this world, we should all be like that, and be one big family. We should all lend a hand and do what we can to help others out.

Tell us about your community outreach plan this holiday. We’re asking people to donate toys (for Children’s Hospital patients) at various businesses located all over the New Orleans area. Lowe’s also donated a Christmas tree for the hospital. Once we’ve collected the toys, we’ll count the total number of toys and monetary donations made, and my foundation will match it.

How long have you been doing this? This is our first year doing the toy drive in New Orleans. I launched my foundation this year, and I feel blessed with the positive response I’ve received.

What do you hope to accomplish? The importance of being healthy and keeping our youth active is what I really want the kids that I reach to understand. I hope they really grab a hold of how important it is to stay healthy and eat healthy and to be active at a young age. I think it’s also important to reach out to the adults. If the parents show that they’re into it and that they believe, then the kids will really jump on board.

Is there any way fans can help with the toy drive? Fans can donate toys that are new and unwrapped. A list of the drop-off locations is available on my website at or on twitter at @iCAN_Foundation.

how will you get yourself ready mentally for the New York Giants game sUNDAY? They have a tough defense and in the past we’ve played well against them. We just have to stay focused when it comes to game time.