While the 49ers prepared for a road game this week, the ladies behind the team joined Sacred Heart Community Service for a day of volunteerism. 49ers coaches and players' significant others met at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose to learn about the organization as well as lend a hand in sorting donated clothing and food, and assist the Sacred Heart families with shopping for their basic necessities. Sacred Heart's mission is to build a community free of poverty by ensuring people have what they need today to begin planning for a better tomorrow.
"Our volunteers come in ready to work, whether it is sorting supplies, food, or clothing," said Jay Pecot, Sacred Heart Community Service's Director of Development, "We help families realize the vision behind their children's future and by providing food and necessities today, help them believe tomorrow can be better."
Jay Pecot welcomed the ladies with an enthusiastic ice-breaker and an explanation of the history of the Sacred Heart Community Services. Determined to feed underserved families in her community, Louise Benson established the organization in 1964, collecting food and distributing it out of her home. Growing beyond the walls of her house, Sacred Heart relocated to a larger facility and now directly impacts over 400 families per day. The organization has continued to provide daily essentials while also maintaining long-lasting relationships by implementing services such as employment assistance to encourage self-sufficiency.
Married to 49ers Running Backs Coach Tom Rathman, Holly Rathman knows how to take full charge when given a role. Holly, accompanied by Shari Donatell (wife of Secondary Coach Ed Donatell) Rachael Lange (wife of Director of Public Relations, Bob Lange)and several others entered the pantry where they spent the afternoon sorting and bagging apples which would be picked up by families in just a matter of hours.
"We are all very fortunate and blessed to have many gifts in life," said Rachael Lange, "It is important that we come together as a community to give back and learn from others.
Adjacent to the pantry is the Sacred Heart Service Store where individuals can shop for donated clothes. 49ers tackle Joe Staley's fiancée, Carrie Dew, joined Colt McCoy's wife Rachel to volunteer as personal shoppers for the families visiting the facility. The ladies were determined to assist visitors in finding all they needed from the variety of apparel, blankets, and accessories.
"We want to help people find what they need and make it feel like any other store where they can shop," expressed Dew, "It feels good to help those who are going through a rough time and work with such a great an organization."
Behind the scenes, Senior Offersive Assistant Coach Paul Wulff's wife Sherry and her sons Max and Sam teamed up with Julie Tomsula (wife of Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula) to sort through the hundreds of clothing items delivered that morning. Amazed by the assortment and sheer volume of apparel donated throughout the day, the women organized racks of clothing which would then be moved to the shopping floor. The same coats, pants, and toddler pajamas donated earlier that day would soon warm those in need that evening.
"The amount of donations amazed me," expressed ten year old Max Wulff, "I am glad I could be here to sort and organize them to help better the community."
The afternoon concluded with a feat of accomplishments. The dedicated ladies of the franchise bagged nearly 3,000 apples, sorted through 300 clothing items, and provided assistance to an array of friendly faces that walked through the door. Most of all, each volunteer walked away with a life lesson, a memorable experience, and helped Sacred Heart Community Service grow their mission to bring the community together and provide a healthier, safer, and more promising future for all.