As part of the 49ers ongoing commitment to serving those in need, the 49ers hosted the third annual Alumni Giving for Life event at Second Harvest Food Bank, presented by Verizon Wireless with support from UnitedHealthcare, Sysco San Francisco, and presenting sponsor Violin Memory.
"It has become an annual tradition during the bye week for us to go out with our 49ers alumni to do a day of service in the community," said Joanne Pasternack, Director of Community Relations & 49ers Foundation. "The connection with Second Harvest Food Bank is special for us because, for the second year in a row, our CEO, Jed York, is co-chairing their Holiday Food and Fund Drive. Jed in collaboration with counterparts from EMC and Barracuda Networks is helping to provide Second Harvest with the visibility and funds they need to support their initiatives throughout the entire year."
CEO of SHFB of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties Kathy Jackson describes the giving spirit of the day and the events in which took place.
"It's so incredible what happened today," Jackson said. "The 49ers alumni showed up, along with folks from Sysco and Verizon, and together they unloaded a truck with a couple pallets full of foods to benefit some homeless people. They also sorted through I don't know how many tons of apples and boxed the apples up, which will allow us to distribute them easily to agencies around both counties."
After the volunteers sorted through and boxed up the apples, they moved on to a friendly yet competitive assembly line to pack boxed lunches for the homeless.
"We had a little contest where we packed lunches in an assembly line," said Dwight Clark. "They were showing us how they do it on a daily basis. It was educational to learn how all this is done and how much of a difference we could make in such a short amount of time. It's pretty amazing."
Dwight, one of the box-packing champions, was satisfied with his team's success.
"I was a part of the winning team," Clark said. "The other team was bragging a little too early. We were counting the bags as they were going and it was 75 to 50. And the final count was 233 to 232. So we won in true 49ers fashion."
Dennis Brown, who was also a part of the winning team, illustrates the point that every volunteer that day was truly a winner.
"We all were winners today," said Brown. "It was a fun day. Just the opportunity to give back to the community feels really good. It falls in line with the 49ers Foundation's mission of 'Keeping Kids Safe, On Track, and In School.' We really volunteered today. We were in the bins. We were sorting the baskets. We were packing lunches. It all starts here with getting people in need food, that energy to start the day."
Not only was it a special day because of the goodwill being spread in the community, but also because of a very special birthday.
"Today's my birthday, so I'm giving back on my birthday, which feels great."
"We could not do what we do without the incredible help of organizations like the 49ers and all the companies that come and volunteer here and youth groups and church groups and school groups because they provide volunteer labor that we would otherwise have to pay people to do," Kathy Jackson said. "And they seem to think it is fun, which is totally amazing! Last year volunteers saved us almost $6 million in cost for the year. $1 translates to 2 meals, which means we provided $12 million meals into the community just based on what volunteers did for us in 2011."