The 49ers roster grew to well over 100 as the team behind the scenes took the field at Kathryn Hughes Elementary School in Santa Clara. This time the starting lineup was comprised of the 49ers Front Office, and their turf was a platform of grass and dirt ready to be transformed into an outdoor classroom and sanctuary for the children of a neighboring elementary school. Kathryn Hughes provides a stellar academic curriculum, but one thing the school grounds were lacking prior to the 49ers First Annual Community Day was shade. With excruciating heat plaguing the west coast, the days of children playing tag on the field have been limited due to students corralling under the overhangs near the classrooms. Sixty-five members of the 49ers Front Office sought to change that picture and restore the opportunity to Play 60. The staff embraced the outdoors by taking their shovels, wheelbarrows and determined minds to plant crepe myrtle trees and a variety of drought resistant bushes in the shape of a circle surrounding rows of welcoming benches and an arbor.
"This has been a vision we've had for a long time," said Marcela Miranda, Principal of Kathryn Hughes Elementary, " An outdoor classroom will provide an area for our students to engage outside and be active for years to come."
Employees showed off their green thumbs and muscles for the next few hours, transferring three tons of dirt, four tons of mulch and eight tons of gold-fines to complete the space.
"We all have been pouring our hearts and efforts into building Levi's, and we wanted to take a day to pour that into the community," expressed 49ers Team President, Paraag Marathe, "Kathryn Hughes Elementary School is in the backyard of our stadium, and we want to leave a legacy and apply the same approach we have taken with Levi's and make this outdoor classroom as fun, nice and meticulous for our youth as our new field is for our fans and team."
As Principal Miranda and the members of Kathryn Hughes' vision came to fruition, the next wave of 49ers staff prepared for the afternoon session of the 49ers Community Day which took place at Second Harvest Food Bank. The staff walked into a room of what seemed to be bottomless pits or corn and oranges, awaiting their expertise in sorting the good, the bad and the ugly. While the Front Office had been contributing their efforts to an internal food drive for the past two months, the adrenaline kicked in once all had the opportunity to get their hands on what had been donated by multiple organizations and ensure that it was safe, healthy and ready to be distributed to those in need throughout Santa Clara County. Employees split up into teams and sorted bin after bin, packaging edible corn and oranges and disposing of product that would later be turned into compost.
"We are excited to join the staff in taking a break from our day-to-day busy schedules and do something good for the community that we are such a big and vital part of," said Cipora Herman, 49ers Chief Financial Officer.
"We wanted to help feed the 250,000 people that Second Harvest Food Bank feeds per month," added 49ers Chief Operating Officer, Al Guido, "It is always great to step away from the grind and give back. It gives you great perspective and it humbles you on how fortunate we are to work for the 49ers and to have the opportunity give back to the community—I think it is fantastic."
It is only natural that those surrounded by the world of sports added a friendly competition into the sorting of fruits and vegetable. The task of deciphering a ripe orange from rotten quickly turned into who could sort through the most bins and package the most fruits and vegetables. Together, staff packaged 1,034 boxes of oranges and 76 boxes of corn, weighing in at twenty-five pounds apiece, totaling 27,750 pounds of food to feed hundreds of families.
A day of hard labor and determination commenced, though the moral reward is sure to stick with the red and gold staff as they prepare to open a new home which neighbors Kathryn Hughes and incredible organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank. All walked away with the hope to return and continue to make a difference in the community which surrounds them.
"Throughout the year our players, coaches, executives and ownership are so deeply involved in the community. Today was an opportunity for the 49ers Front Office to take part," stated Community Relations Specialist, Heather Hooper, "The participation of staff members is a true testament to our organization and our ownership's example of dedication to bettering our community."