On Monday, December 22, 49ers families brought joy to families and foster youth in need from the Bill Wilson Center by purchasing gifts for them for the holidays. The families of 49ers players RB Frank Gore, TE Vernon Davis, G/T Alex Boone, S Eric Reid, P Andy Lee, G Mike Iupati, TE Garrett Celek, TE Garrett Celek, S Craig Dahl, G/C Daniel Kilgore, G Fouimalo Fonoti and NT Mike Purcell joined the families of running backs coach Tom Rathman, quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, wide receivers coach John Morton, special teams assistant Tracy Smith, offensive assistant Ronald Curry, vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson, director of rehabilitation & assistant head athletic trainer Nate Breske, and alumnus Eric Heitmann, along with Ownership and front office staff to "adopt" 27 families who would not otherwise receive any gifts for the holidays.
A room inside Levi's® Stadium was transformed into "Santa's Workshop" and the players into elves as they packaged winter clothing, toys, books, cookware, blankets, grocery store gift cards and other essentials into festive baskets to brighten the spirits of deserving children and families.
"The 49ers are so proud to be adopting families from the Bill Wilson Center this season," said Stacy McCorkle, senior manager of community relations. "This is an event that the players and coaches and the families can really get into. They do the shopping on their own and they are excited to come in here today to wrap the gifts for the families. They know how much it means to these families who wouldn't receive gifts otherwise, so this is something they really enjoy."
49ers punter Andy Lee and his entire family got into the Christmas spirit as they wrapped gifts, while his two sons decorated cookies with no shortage of icing and sprinkles. Lee took his two young sons with him to shop for their adopted family and describes what they bought, as well as the importance of instilling in his boys the true meaning of Christmas.
"We had four young ladies, ages 18 to 22, to shop for and we ended up getting them some pots and pans, a couple hair dryers, a nice coat, some flats and a hair straightener," Lee said. "We also got them some makeup and a few other things they were wanting."
"I think Christmas is about giving rather than receiving and it means a lot to us to be able to do that. I took my two boys Ryan and Adam with me because I wanted to show them what it's like to give and that it was more about giving than actually getting presents from Santa or from mom and dad or other people. So, hopefully it instills some values in them."
Andy Lee proved to be an excellent and extremely detail-oriented gift wrapper, which wasn't so much the case with 49ers guard/tackle Alex Boone.
"I'm terrible at giftwrapping. I'm absolutely the worst gift wrapper ever. I'm going to have to pay somebody to wrap my presents for my wife, it's that bad," said Boone. "But in all seriousness, this is honestly such a great cause and it feels so wonderful to give back especially during Christmas. It's an awesome feeling to give back to those in need in our community."
Bill Wilson Center's mission is to support and strengthen the community by serving youth and families through counseling, housing, education, and advocacy. With an emphasis on youth development, Bill Wilson Center programs focus on building self-confidence and developing personal assets. With these tools, youth can permanently change the direction of their lives. Through the Adopt-A-Family program, the 49ers assisted individuals and families from Bill Wilson Center programs including Family Advocacy Services, Foster Care Services, Transitional Housing Placement Program and Transitional Housing Program.
The 49ers Community Mondays program is presented by Dignity Health and includes weekly events involving players giving back to the community in the spirit of the 49ers Foundation's mission to keep kids, "Safe, On Track, and In School."