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Bay Area Athletes and Volunteers Offer a Day of Holiday Fun to Underserved Children

By Pati Navalta Poblete | December 16, 2019 | People News and Features Culture Best of the Bay Sports

As home to our San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park is built on a game of statistics. Here, the numbers tell the story. It’s a fitting venue, then, for the 10th Annual Holiday Heroes Fundraiser Dec. 10—held by an organization whose numbers tell an impressive story of their own.

For 25 years, the Wender Weis Foundation for Children has been helping underserved children in the Bay Area. Each year, the annual event draws approximately 1,500 attendees, with more than 500 at-risk youth and their families to the event. Perhaps the most impressive statistics: Since the foundation’s inception, it has been able to donate more than $2 million to various nonprofit organizations, hosted more than 5,000 at-risk children, served more than 50,000 underserved children and succeeded in getting 500 professional athletes to donate their time to the event.

0517-HolidayHeroes-151207.jpgFormer SF 49ers players Michael Wilhoite and Tony Jerod-Eddie decorate stockings at the 2018 Holiday Heroes event.

Each December, we take over Oracle Park for one night and turn it into a holiday wonderland,” says Amy Wender-Hoch, founder of Wender Weis. “We partner with the sports teams, companies and philanthropists, and connect at-risk children with professional athletes. We create experiences that provide hope, direction and the ability to dream big.”

Proceeds from this year’s Holiday Heroes will benefit local children’s organizations, including: 49ers Foundation, Family House Inc., Do It for the Love Foundation, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital (bone marrow transplant patients), Warriors Community Foundation, Team IMPACT, and Raphael House.

Local singer-songwriter and activist Michael Franti, and his wife, Sara, founders of the Do It for the Love Foundation, were honored with the second annual Community Philanthropy Award from the Wender Weis Foundation in honor of their ongoing commitment to children in need, especially those with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

1059-Heroes-161205.jpgSan Jose Earthquakes alum Khari Stephenson participates in beading with youth.

“Holiday Heroes is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and it gives us the opportunity to help children who are in need all year long,” says Wender-Hoch. The organization continues to accept donations and expertise going forward. Thank you for your support for the kids and the cause!

Photography by: Photos by Drew Altizer Photography