Just days before Christmas, San Francisco 49ers players Tully Banta-Cain, David Baas, Andy Lee, Chilo Rachal and Mark Roman, their families and coaches' families, continued the holiday giving season by playing Santa's helpers to create a Winter Wonderland for Bay Area families affected by homelessness.
The 49ers paired up with InnVision, Silicon Valley's largest provider of housing and services to homeless and at-risk individuals and families, to help brighten up the holiday season.
The 49ers players spent the morning as "elves," assisting the parents in choosing the perfect gift for their children. Each parent was able to choose two items from three rooms filled with gifts that were donated through the San Francisco 49ers and InnVision's services, as well as stocking stuffers and a book for each child.
As one of the elves and a Bay Area native, Tully Banta-Cain saw the opportunity to give back to his community as a true blessing.
"There's nothing better than coming back to where you came from and the community you grew up in and be able to give back to that same community. For me, this is a priceless opportunity and I'm very fortunate to be able to do it."
Rachel Lee, wife of punter Andy, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's wife Laurie, and David Baas' wife Liz helped the parents maintain the element of surprise on Christmas morning by providing entertainment for the little ones while they shopped. The kids had a host of activities to choose from including icing cookies or creating ornaments.
Head Coach Mike Singletary's daughter, Jill, also helped out in the area.
"I was in charge of helping with the crafts, because that's my thing, I always loved little kid's stuff. I also made cookies with them, just kind of hung out with them. It was fun."
In the spirit of giving, Jill discussed what helping out today meant to her, and what the Singletary family this holiday season is doing to remember the true spirit of Christmas.
"It kind of just makes you think about what Christmas is really about, I'm sitting here thinking 'I want this purse, I want this, I want that' and you see there are some people who really don't have anything. So this Christmas actually, our whole family is just doing one present each to celebrate Christmas to remember what it's about instead of 'I want, I want.'"
Jill's mom, Kim Singletary, was meanwhile serving as a shopping assistant, while other coaches' wives including Laurie Lynn and Johnnie Nathan were at the gift wrapping station. Mark Roman's wife Ashley and Tully Banta-Cain's wife Brigett also pitched in to enable the parents to walk out with wrapped gifts ready to be placed under the tree for Christmas morning.
The event concluded with Mark Roman announcing to the families that the 49ers were donating a brand new 49ers bike, assembled in partnership with Yahoo! and TurningWheels for Kids during the 49ers Holiday Bike Build earlier this month, to each family in attendance.
Roman, a regular during the 49ers season long Community Tuesday events, appreciates giving back.
"We are truly blessed individuals to be living the dream and playing in the NFL so whenever we get the opportunity to give back to the community it's always a good thing, both for us and the community because it's a fulfilling feeling on both sides."