Holiday Heroes
Santa Claus with Joy Bianchi

This year the Wender Weis Foundation for Children (WWFC) introduced “Holiday Heroes” to the Bay Area by moving its annual “Halloween Heroes” event to December 7, 2009 during the holiday season.

Held at the charming Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio, the event gave children and families the opportunity to meet local sports athletes while enjoying a winter wonderland of children’s games and activities. The annual event, in its 13th year, aims to offer a one-of-a-kind holiday experience to underprivileged children, supporting a number of local children’s charities.

claudia ross, andrea schnitzer
Andrea Schnitzer and Claudia Ross

The festive fundraiser kicked off with a VIP reception for the Foundation’s most generous contributors hosted by US Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi and her husband, NHL Great Bret Hedican.

kristi yamaguchi
Bret Hedican and Kristi Yamaguchi

Celebrity athletes in attendance included San Francisco 49ers players Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and Brian Jennings, Jon Alston and Chris Morris of the Oakland Raiders, Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants, Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch and Ryan Johnson of the San Jose Earthquakes, and many more. Kristi Yamaguchi and Bret Hedican joined in the fun to explore the activities with their family and snap photos with adoring fans.

Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Wilson, Raj Mathai

Patricia Ferrin Loucks and Charles Loucks joined Stacey and Christopher Caen as chairpersons of this year’s Holiday Heroes, with former chairpersons Susan Solinsky Duryea & Paul Duryea and Lori Puccinelli Stern & Peter Stern returning to the event as Honorary Chairs.

Amy Wender and Cheryl Jennings

Proceeds from the event will benefit Junior Giants Baseball Program, and a variety of other local children’s charities including the 49ers Academy, Always Dream Foundation, Holy Family Day Home, Raphael House, Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. The Wender Weis Foundation worked with each beneficiary to sponsor 200 underprivileged children and their families to attend the event and join in the holiday spirit.

Kelly Grimes and Barry Shotts
Brian Wilson and Kate Coffino
Shannon Cronan and Dan Cronan
Patty Rock and Brian Wilson
Kristi Yamaguchi and Hooman Khalili
Tiffeny Millbrett and Ryan Johnson
Julie Veronese and Joe Alioto Veronese
Denise Zanze and Betsy Dohrmann
Undyne Stafford and Terry Stafford

Photos: Drew Altizer [drewaltizer.com]