The San Francisco 49ers visited Our Daily Bread of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sunnyvale, through their partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, for a fun-filled and enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration event. 49ers players, Ownership and 49ers staff, along with volunteers from Sysco, helped prepare and serve meals to homeless and low-income individuals and families.
Our Daily Bread, an outreach program of St. Thomas Church, serves roughly 350 hot meals three days per week to men, women, and children who may also be aged, homeless, unemployed, disabled, or the working poor. They accept all hungry people and only ask, "Are you here for lunch?" For many, the human companionship is just as important as the food. Throughout the day, the 49ers and volunteers made sure everyone they served were treated with dignity and compassion.
"The 49ers are visiting Our Daily Bread to take part in a Thanksgiving celebration. The six players who are volunteering are preparing and serving hot meals to those in need," Community Relations Specialist Heather Curry said. "The players are picking up plates of food and then delivering them to the diners. In addition, they are serving bread, drinks, desserts, and enjoying pleasant conversation and interactions with attendees."
In addition to serving hot meals, the 49ers also helped distribute to-go lunches to diners on their way out.
"We're handing out bag lunches to go with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a granola bar and some fruit," said 49ers guard Al Netter. "It's an important element of what Our Daily Bread is able to provide since many of the beneficiaries won't have any other meals for the rest of the day. So, they get to enjoy a hearty meal here and also have one for later."
49ers guard Joe Looney worked tirelessly to serve the meals, as well as to make connections with those he served.
"It's been a lot of fun serving meals to everybody who wants to come in and eat," Looney said. "One man knew one of my professors back at Wake Forest and we enjoyed chatting for a while. It's been awesome to get to meet new people and put smiles on their faces."
Looney also illustrated the importance of getting out and serving the community, especially on their one day off during the week.
"This is critical because we don't only play football. We care. We are involved in the community and we want to change lives."
The 49ers partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank has been thriving for several years now, as Director of Development and Marketing for SHFB Tami Cardenas points out.
"Today is a real partnership between Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, Our Daily Bread and the San Francisco 49ers, and the players and volunteers are generously giving their time to serve people at Our Daily Bread," said Cardenas. "Our partnership has been in effect for several years now, and the last two years, 49ers CEO Jed York has served as our Holiday Food and Fund Drive co-chair. He's provided a lot of leadership in terms of helping people who are in need and who are hungry in the Silicon Valley. We work very closely with the 49ers and they've donated food, money and time to help us in our efforts to eradicate hunger."
Overall, the day proved to be a great success, as everyone left with full hearts and full bellies and with a few new friends as well.