As Thanksgiving approaches, over 25 San Francisco 49ers players dedicated their time to serve warm meals at CityTeam for the organization's annual Feast with the Niners event. CityTeam is a local shelter for the unhoused, committed to providing support and hope to those in need through transitional housing and restorative programs.
"We help men, women and children that are experiencing addiction, poverty and homelessness and many of the people that you're going to meet today are on the path to recovery and restoration," vice president of CityTeam's development and marketing Melanie Davis shared with the team. "What an incredible impact it is, the 49ers coming here and investing in them today. I know a lot of our residents are very excited about it. The resources that we make available are free for our clients that take advantage of them, so we really believe in not just offering a hand up but giving them the resources that they need to be able to create change within their lives."
The day began with infectious energy as players dressed in festive Thanksgiving hats, setting a joyful tone to the event. Players helped transform the shelter's kitchen into a space of warmth and generosity, filling it with an array of food and beverages.
CityTeam opened their doors to welcome over 100 guests experiencing homelessness. Players ensured that each person in attendance enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast. Every detail was carefully considered to bring a sense of warmth and belonging to those facing challenging circumstances.
"We're just trying to give back anyway we can," linebacker Randy Gregory said. "We're giving out good vibes, talking and just all around having a good time here. For me, any time I have the chance to give back, especially in this capacity is big... Slowing down and giving back makes a big lesson we can all learn from."
The team also demonstrated that their commitment to the community extended beyond serving meals. Many players sat down with the attendees and engaged in heartfelt conversations, listening to their stories and sharing words of inspiration.
"It feels good to give back to the community," linebacker Dre Greenlaw said. "It was important for me to come up and show my respect to them because I've never necessarily been homeless, but I've been in a position where I might not know where my next meal came from. I've just been through a lot of rough moments in my life, and I'm sure a lot of these guys have been through a lot of rough moments in their life as well... I can sit down and share my experiences with them. It always makes me feel better when I can make other people feel better and be able to give back to them, because I know these people probably need it more than anybody."
The Feast with the Niners event not only addressed immediate hunger, but also contributed to the long-term well being of those facing food insecurity. Recognizing that the community's needs go beyond a single meal, the players also distributed groceries to all the guests.
"I've been a part of three teams and I've had a lot of chances to get in the community and do philanthropy work," Gregory said. "And I've always been a big supporter of this team and respected them, so to see the other side of things and to have over 25 guys turn out to this event – that was very big."
49ers players served Thanksgiving dinner and distributed groceries to over 100 individuals at a local homeless shelter.
Since 1957, CityTeam has been serving people in extreme poverty and helping them transform their lives, their families and their communities. The organization is committed to combating hunger in the community through neighborhood food pantries and nutritious hot meals. Their multiple transitional housing programs guide residents towards economic empowerment and housing stability. Thanks to thousands of volunteers and supporters, CityTeam San Jose is able to help our city rise 365 days a year.