Although the baseball season was long over, on December 7, Oracle Park was abuzz with activity. Upwards of 850 supporters, including beneficiary families, turned up for the Wender Weis Foundation for Children’s annual Holiday Heroes fundraiser, cochaired by Elizabeth Johnson, Ed Conlon, and Ashley and Morgan Berman.
The Palo Alto organization, founded by Amy Wender, achieved its goal of bringing joy to 300 underserved children, some of whom were in attendance. Among the crowd-pleasing activities were stations set up for making graffiti art on canvases, screen-printing T-shirts and fashioning trucker hats. San Francisco 49ers legend Patrick Willis and Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in NFL history, were honored with the Inspiration Award, while former San Francisco Giants pitcher Shawn Estes garnered the Community Philanthropy Award.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler, fresh off his National League Manager of the Year win, was on hand, as was the cast of Rent, who performed onstage. In addition to the in-person festivities at the ballpark, remote revelry was an option once again, thanks in part to the delivery of at-home boxes full of goodies. Noting that the gifts distributed through Holiday Heroes were potentially the only ones that some youngsters received and that the event itself might be their sole seasonal celebration, “the most rewarding part,” says Wender, “was being able to see the smiles on kids’ faces and to see the beneficiary children’s faces light up.”