The 2020 Holiday Assist campaign kicked off with the Sharks Foundation teaming up with the San Jose and San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, Warriors, Earthquakes and 49ers for a Giving Tuesday push centered around uniting the Bay Area through youth sports. The Sharks selected Bay Area Outreach & Recreational Program (BORP) as their beneficiary, a local non-profit working to improve the health, independence and social integration of people with physical disabilities. BORP, who operates a sled hockey program at the Oakland Ice facility, received a $1,000 donation from the Sharks Foundation from donations raised through the campaign.
At the start of December, the Foundation launched a virtual toy drive in partnership with SAP. The drive, which was a compiled Amazon wish list created by CityTeam, collected more than 600 toys and gift cards that were then distributed at the December 15 CityTeam holiday event. Sharks fans, employees, players, and ownership contributed more than $25,000 in in-kind donations for the initiative. At the event, 25 members of Team Teal and SAP distributed the solicited gifts along with food to more than 300 local households via CityTeam's Santee Neighborhood Mobile Food Pantry. "In the wake of COVID-19, so many people, including single women with children, are newly unemployed and facing hunger and homelessness. The gift of joining together with the Sharks Foundation is critical to our ability to meet the growing needs of our community with fresh food and groceries. Plus smiles and gifts! This is more than a partnership, it's friends and neighbors coming together to help more friends and neighbors. It is amazing what can be accomplished when we work together," said Hermie Smit, CityTeam in the Neighborhood Program Director.
This specific pantry location is being sponsored for an entire year by the Sharks Foundation and SAP through a $34,000 Community Assist Grant provided to the non-profit. "It is so encouraging to see this partnership with the Sharks Foundation blossom. How wonderful to behold the strength of our entire community coming together to help care for our neighbors' urgent needs and to share hope and joy to brighten peoples' days during this difficult season," said CityTeam President and CEO Glen Peterson. The pantry visits ACE Esperanza Middle School in the Santee neighborhood on a bi-weekly basis and is one of 24 mobile pantries operated by CityTeam in the South Bay.
In partnership with CEFCU, the Sharks Foundation provided a $10,000 Community Assist Grant to Alum Rock Counseling Center (ARCC) to support its annual Holiday Toy Giveaway Program. The mission of ARCC is to heal families and inspire youth to reach their full potential. ARCC's mental and behavioral health programs and services are designed to support low-income, ethnically diverse, underserved youth and families throughout Santa Clara County. Many of ARCC's families are extremely low-income, causing the holidays to be one of the most difficult and stressful times of the year, and with COVID-19, circumstances have become worse. As ARCC Clinical Director Vicky Tamashiro explains, "Each day, I hear from therapists that families are unsure if they can pay their rent or if they will be homeless in the next month. They must decide what bills to pay or if they will buy groceries. Given the devastating financial impact of COVID-19 on many of our families, we suspect that the upcoming holiday season may prove to be one of the most difficult yet, making this program even more critical than in years past."
The donation provided by CEFCU and the Foundation sponsored 25 families with gifts. As part of the program support, CEFCU volunteers participated in a group shopping day where they were given a bio and wish list, and a $400 budget to shop for an assigned family. Volunteers purchased more than 650 toys at the shopping event.
CEFCU volunteers then gathered at Alum Rock Counseling Center to prepare and wrap all the purchased gifts and package them for delivery.
In addition to the families that the Foundation and CEFCU grant funding supported, ten Sharks front office departments adopted families and shopped for gifts out of pocket. A total of 35 families were granted gifts this holiday season.
Foundation Fundraising efforts for the month included the SAP Center Marquee Holiday Card, where for a $20 donation, fans could turn a family photo into a digital greeting displayed on the signage on W. Santa Clara Street, and a Holiday Assist mobile auction featuring unique items such as Tomas Hertl's snowman suit. Net proceeds from both fundraisers benefited Bill Wilson Center (BWC), a non-profit dedicated to ensuring homeless youth have access to a range of services needed to grow into healthy and self-sufficient adults. The Sharks Foundation was able to provide BWC with a $4,800 donation which was used to purchase 16 convertible car seats for families participating in their holiday Adopt a Family program.
In total, the Sharks Foundation provided $49,800 to the community and impacted 2,096 lives during its December Holiday Assist campaign.