David Holmes' four children have their good days.

And their bad days.

Thanks to New Orleans Saints players Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, Monday was one of the good days.

Dejonae, 14; Stephanie, 10; David, 9; and Bryneah, 8, got a chance to hang out with the two Saints players and go on a shopping spree at Lakeside Shopping Center.

The day was part of Merry Morrow Christmas, a project spearheaded by local entertainment socialite Larry Morrow, who teamed with businessman Sidney Torres, Kamara and Thomas.

"It's just a blessing to be in this position to be able to help out," said Thomas, who in his second season with the Saints. "These kids look up to us, and we are role models in the community.

"Just to see the looks on their face when they walked in and saw us is humbling. Playing for New Orleans and winning football games here is one thing. But being able to give back and put smiles on people's faces is what we are really here to do."

The four children haven't had many smiles since Dec. 6.

Stephanie, the second oldest, said she knew something was wrong that day when her mom wasn't snoring, as she usually did when she was asleep on the couch.

Tanya Jenkins died that day, leaving her four children without a mother just weeks before Christmas.

Family members at Monday's shopping spree didn't know the cause of death.

"She was a good mom," David Holmes said. "When it came to those kids, she cooked, cleaned, you name it. She put her head on the chopping block for those kids. She did everything."

Holmes and Jenkins were no longer together, but he spent 20 years of his life with her and knew just how much she meant to the children. He carried a picture of her in his pocket on Monday, two days after her funeral.

He was just as thrilled as his children when he found out about the shopping spree.

"I'm a grown man, but I was excited, too," Holmes said. "I was like a little kid. But mainly, this is for my little ones. As long as they are excited and enjoying themselves, I'm happy and enjoying myself. This means a whole lot to us. They don't have to do this, but they are doing it for us so we appreciate it."

The four children stopped at five different stores in the mall and picked out clothes, toys, electronics and shoes.

"I'm so happy that I got some new clothes and some new toys," Stephanie said.

The Saints players' smiles were just as big.

"You take a lot of things for granted," Kamara said. "I'm just in the presence of good energy. They are picking outfits and having fun, and it's just good to be here."

Even during the shopping spree, the four kids had their bad moments.

Especially 9-year-old David.

"It feels good, but I miss my momma more," he said.

But he was smiling again moments later as he picked out another gift.

And that smile is why Morrow helped put on this event in the first place. It's the second year of the project that included former New Orleans Pelicans player Tyreke Evans and former Saint Keenan Lewis in 2016.

"The project is about lifting spirits and paying it forward," Morrow said. "I reached out to a few of my really good friends in Sidney, Mike and Alvin, and in the same competitive spirit they display in their respective sports and business, and challenged them to use our blessings to help make a positive impact on others."

And for Holmes and his four children, it was much needed.

"It's a blessing," Holmes said. "Life is precious. I appreciate what the guys are doing, but you can't put a price on life. ... They are enjoying themselves, and this has brightened my day."


Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.