Teamwork is nothing new for the 49ers. They spend all day every day working with their teammates.
But Tuesday afternoon, members of the team worked together for a different cause. Instead of scoring touchdowns and stopping their opponents, the 49ers spent the afternoon at the San Francisco Food Bank helping prepare food boxes for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a federal program that provides a monthly box of nutritious USDA food to low-income seniors, mothers and children.
The food boxes the 49ers put together directly benefited the San Francisco Housing Authority and Third Baptist Church in San Francisco.
"We always try to help out in the community, but it is especially important this time of year," wide receiver Josh Morgan said. "There are so many people who are less fortunate than us and we want to do whatever we can to give back."
Along with Morgan, wide receivers Brandon Jones, Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler, linebacker Takeo Spikes, offensive linemen Tony Pashos and Chilo Rachal, and former player and Director of Alumni Relations Guy McIntyre packed 616 boxes of food. Students from St. Finnbarr Middle School, employees at the San Francisco Food Bank and 49ers staff also helped out.
The players worked in an assembly line where Spikes made the boxes, Pashos put in some oats, Jones and Zeigler then added canned peas, Rachal added canned peaches, Hill put in evaporated milk, Morgan then added tuna, peanut butter and rice to the boxes, and finally McIntyre put in dry milk before 49ers staff members sealed the boxes.
"I'm on the back of the line because I have to supervise these youngsters here," McIntyre said. "That's what we older people do, we supervise."
But Morgan had a different view of McIntyre's responsibilities. The starting wide receiver joked that the former offensive lineman was just being lazy.
"I have three jobs and Guy is over here slacking," Morgan said with a laugh. "He has a lot of young guys with him and I'm just trying to keep him up to speed.
"But I'm talented and I can handle all these jobs."
Back at the beginning of the assembly line, Spikes struggled with making the boxes early in the day. However, it didn't take him long to find his rhythm.
"It was a slow start but I got it now and I think I have the most important job," Spikes said. "This is a lot of boxes though."
According to the San Francisco Food Bank, there are 150,000 people in The City who struggle each day to feed themselves and their families. The Food Bank collects millions of pounds of food from growers, packers, processors, manufacturers, the USDA and grocery stores to store in its warehouse before distributing it to needy individuals and families.
The San Francisco Food Bank distributes about 36.5 million pounds of food per year.
"The 49ers are helping out so much today," said, Stacy Newman, media manager for the San Francisco Food Bank. "We have over 15,000 volunteers that come in every year doing the work of what 50 full-time employees would do for the Bank. The 49ers are helping like every other member of the community can."
Before Tuesday, Hill had plenty of experience packing food at food banks. He was one of several members of the team who volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank last year, so he knew which job he wanted as soon as he arrived Tuesday.
"I had a hard job last year," Hill said. "I had bagged food and it was tough. So I sprinted over here to make sure to get the evaporated milk. This is an easier job."
Even though Hill took one of the easier jobs, the food-packing veteran did have some advice for the inexperienced volunteers in the group.
"I told them just to move fast," he said. "Chilo started off too slow, but now he's getting it."
While good-natured ribbing like that took place all day, the players knew how important their community service was and they know how much the recipients will benefit from the 11, 704 pounds of food they packed.
"It is always important to give back," Pashos said. "We care about this community and we want to make sure everybody has food to eat, especially this time of year."