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Sierra clubs spearhead drive for fire victims
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Students from Sierra High worked Tuesday to put together care packages of donated items from throughout Manteca Unified to help the Camp Fire victims in Butte County. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Isabella Velasquez is among the many throughout the Manteca Unified School District who wanted to do her part for the Camp Fire victims in Butte County.

A sophomore at the Sierra High, she was among the cross-section of students from the various clubs and organizations, taking donated items for packaging to help those in needs on Tuesday.

“We heard of people who lost their homes and now have nothing,” said Velasquez, who is involved in both Community Leaders of America and Leadership.

She even got her family to donate to the fire relief efforts.

At last report, the Camp Fire is about 70 percent contained. Its destructive path has grown to 151,373 acres, taking with it 12,637 homes, 310 multi-family dwellings, and 483 commercial structures, according to Cal Fire.

More importantly were the loss of lives, which was at 81 as of Tuesday with another 871 still missing.

For the past week, some 20 MUSD sites have chipped in with this concerted effort at SHS otherwise known as #Hope for Paradise.

They collected two roomfuls of new and gently used items.

Blankets and sleep bag, for examples, were among the gently used items.

New items included toiletries, luggage, diapers, linens, sheets, school supplies, cat litter, and cans and bags of pet food.

The group also had gift cards collected from the various restaurant chains, stores, gas stations and pre-paid Visa cards.

Items are still being collected even though the donation drive officially ended on Tuesday. SHS is also being used as a drop-off point for donations at Mountain Mike’s Pizza – owner Jeff Liotard and others have been doing their part by helping feed people in Paradise.

SHS teacher Jared Rice, who has been spearheading the donation drive, and Amy Bohlken – she’s the Future Farmers of America chapter advisor – are also looking forward to helping out.

They’re planning to take a trailer full of the donated box goods to Butte County.

Rains are in the forecast for these next few days, in turn, delaying the efforts of the group in delivering the donated items to the victims of the fire.

Those looking to help with the cause can do so by e-mailing Rio at