Actions of the San Francisco 49ers are proving that they have far greater responsibilities in this time of crisis and are lending a helping hand to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the 49ers organization announced a $500,000 commitment to support employees and the greater community in response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and immediately invested $49,000 to support a newly created fund for nonprofit organizations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
The National Football League announced on Thursday that in collaboration with the National Football League Players Association, clubs, owners and players have donated more than $35 million to date, including $3.4 million from the NFL Foundation as part of the COVID-19 relief efforts.
San Francisco's players, coaches and staff alike are also joining in to help support their local communities.
Defensive lineman Arik Armstead has made it his mission to help underserved youth in his community by reducing barriers to opportunity through the Armstead Academic Project. Now, he's expanded his mission to assist local businesses in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif..
Small businesses have been negatively impacted by the spread of COVID-19 as California Governor Gavin Newsom limited restaurants to delivery and carry-out orders under the shelter-in-place directive. In the midst of the worldwide pandemic, Armstead is encouraging those near his hometown to support smaller and local restaurants who may be facing hardship during the Coronavirus state-wide mandate through his #EAT91SIX campaign.
Armstead asked his followers to share photos of meals purchased from local Sacramento restaurants for a chance to win tickets to a 49ers game, autographed memorabilia and other giveaways.
"As you all know Sacramento is my hometown that I love deeply and is home to some of the best restaurants in the US," Armstead said via his Twitter account. "What you may not know is Sacramento is comprised of over 60% small business (mainly restaurants) that are struggling during this difficult time. In order to support local, I'll be rewarding people who support Sacramento restaurants. Tweet a pic of your food (tag or mention restaurant) using the #EAT91SIX to be entered to win 49ers tix, autographed memorabilia + more (I'll be selecting random winners starting 4/1)"
Armstead is sharing residents' posts to his nearly-220 thousand followers on Instagram and Twitter to help promote local restaurants. For more information on how to get involved with the Armstead Academic Project or EAT91SIX, visit www.arikarmstead91.com.
-- San Francisco's assistant coach is putting her celebrity to good use. Katie Sowers is using her platform to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through CAMEO, a video shout-out company that allows fans to book messages from their favorite talent, Sowers is recording personalized messages to fans with all proceeds from the bookings going to Meals on Wheels San Francisco.
Meals on Wheels San Francisco provides a network of services that allow seniors to live in their homes with dignity and independence as long as possible.
"Through these really weird times that we're all going through, I wanted to try to make some good out of it," Sowers said via a Twitter post. "As I'm working from home, as we all are kind of isolated, I wanted to take some time to let you guys know that I'm raising money for meals on wheels, San Francisco, to help get food out to those who need it. If you guys book a CAMEO from me, all the money will be going to Meals on Wheels San Francisco. Allow me to send a message to someone you love - maybe someone that you haven't been able to see because of these times, and we'll make it happen. And we'll also do good in the process. So, book now. Let's get some money for a good cause."
According to Sowers, so far she has raised over $1,000 dollars in the first week for Meals On Wheels San Francisco.
-- Safety Jacob Thieneman, an undrafted rookie who joined the 49ers practice squad in December, is doing more than just training this offseason. As major manufacturers are struggling to meet the supply for the sudden demand of ventilators for those dealing with COVID-19, Thieneman has teamed up with The Ventilator Project, a Boston-based non-profit aiming to rapidly create and manufacture low cost ventilators for patients worldwide dealing with the virus.
"People afflicted badly with the virus start needing a ventilator to breathe and survive," Thieneman told Rivals.com. "Without that, it leads to a higher chance of dying. Currently, the demand for those ventilators will out-pace the supply by as much as 30 times in the next couple of weeks. This company is designing a very easy-to-make and cheap ventilator to be built with easily sourced parts that they can start manufacturing quickly."
Thieneman, a mechanical engineering graduate, is working to help spread the word about The Ventilator Project through social media and public relations while seeking help from engineers, medical professionals, corporate and strategic partners in fulfilling and expediting ventilators.
For more information on The Ventilator Project, visit www.theventilatorproject.org.
-- Ben Garland serves with the Colorado Air National Guard as a Public Affairs Officer, fulfilling his military obligations during each NFL offseason. He is also a member of Waterboys, an organization that unites NFL players from across the league in service to bring life-sustaining drinking water to communities in need. During the NFL's annual My Cause, My Cleats campaign, Garland represented the charity in an effort to raise awareness and funding for the millions of people around the world without access to clean water.
Garland has extended his efforts amidst the COIVD-19 pandemic by joining DraftKings and United Way to help combat the global crisis. Through a hashtag campaign, fans are encouraged to take a picture or video in their own rally cap and the daily fantasy sports company will donate money to the United Way's relief efforts. DraftKings has already made an initial donation of $500,000.
"The rally cap uniquely embodies the American spirit and our hope in the face of adversity, no matter the challenge ahead. It represents the come-back attitude we have at DraftKings as we work with our communities to face down COVID-19," Matt Kalish, DraftKings President North America said in a press release. "Our player community over the years has shown a steadfast commitment to social good in times of need through many charitable programs on our platform. We are confident America will now rally for those in need to help ignite this important comeback."
For every post shared with the #DKRally hashtag, Draft Kings will donate $1 to the United Way.
-- For community resources and to learn more about the 49ers efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit 49ers.com/IGYB.