On the Tuesday before the Thanksgiving, the San Francisco 49ers made Turkey Day a memorable one for members of Cityteam Men’s Program and Cityteam’s House of Grace.
Participants thought they were coming to Levi’s Stadium for a tour but instead were treated to makeovers -including makeup, haircuts, and new clothing – and then a surprise dinner with several members of the 49ers.
“This program, House of Grace and Cityteam, is magnificent,” said linebacker Reuben Foster. “I’ve been part of the membership of Cityteam for awhile now, and all I’ve seen is pure heart…from heart. Seeing their happy faces while they’re getting dolled up, I want to be in here too. Just seeing their proud faces, and the happiness on their faces, is heartwarming.”
According to its website, “[s]ince 1957, Cityteam has been serving people in extreme poverty and helping them transform their lives, their families and their communities. The 49ers have been an integral part of that.
“We have a very important and special relationship with the 49ers,” said Cityteam President Glen Peterson. “They’ve helped with serving food to our homeless guests, they’ve come and invested in the lives of the people in our recovery program, and they’ve generally raised awareness for the programs that we offer.”
Peterson went on to explain that “[t]his day is especially important to our residents, because, based on their histories, in many cases, they have damaged relationships. So the holidays are an especially challenging time. For the 49ers to show the love to our residents the way they have just means a lot to us.”
For Elizabeth from House of Grace, that is most definitely true, especially this holiday season.
“This year, I’m very thankful,” said Elizabeth. “I was homeless last year, living in St. James Park. I was very sick. This year, I’m with Cityteam. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m happy. And I’m going to be around all my new sisters and my friends and family this year. It’s a Thanksgiving I can truly enjoy.”
The 49ers do a lot of good in Bay Area communities throughout the year, and it’s a priority that is not lost on the players.
“The more that we can contribute to society and make everything better, it’s a great opportunity,” said quarterback Nick Mullens. “For me, it’s all about building relationships and helping people, and the 49ers have really done a great job of giving the players those opportunities…It’s a lot of fun, and we definitely enjoy it.”