STUDENTS AIM WIDER WITH DRIVE.
CANYON COUNTRY - Food, toys and clothing bound for fire and other disaster sites throughout Southern California made their first stop Tuesday at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School as part of a relief drive engineered by local students.
The two-week effort organized by the campus student council and PTA benefits those displaced by Sunday's plane crash at the Mint Canyon Mobile Manor and the deadly wildfires that swept San Bernardino and San Diego counties last week.
``We were having our annual November food drive,'' said sixth-grade teacher and student council adviser Ken Newton. ``But under the circumstances, I wanted to expand it to the plane crash and the fire victims.''
While Santa Clarita escaped relatively unscathed from the Val Verde/Simi Valley blaze, major wildfires in San Bernardino and San Diego counties destroyed some 3,587 homes and killed 22 people. The plane crash at the mobile home park killed the pilot, destroyed three homes and damaged two others.
``It's awful people are losing their lives and their homes and all their stuff,'' said Camrin Roczey, 11. ``Now they have nothing.''
When Newton suggested to the student government to convert the food drive into a relief effort last week, his charges were sympathetic.
``It's always good to help people,'' said Camrin, who is a student council representative. ``If I was one of those people, I would want somebody to help me.''
``It kinda makes our school look good,'' said Rochelle Taylor, 11, also a student council member. ``But also I think (the victims) could use a little more help.''
Since the effort began Monday, about a dozen boxes of clothing, stuffed animals, canned food and $300 cash have been donated by the elementary school students and parents. Newton said the contributions will be given to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and food banks in fire-ravaged areas.
The drive also teaches an important lesson to students, PTA President Ione Chu said.
``There's no better way to show caring,'' she said.
Donations to the relief drive, which ends Nov. 14, can be made at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School, 26933 N. Silverbell Lane in Canyon Country. Call (661) 299-1790 for details.
Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253
Fair Oaks Elementary students Tori Gilbert, Tre Williams, Alvin Yang, Alexandra Parolini, Jason Corbin, Avinesh Kampala and Sneha Sumbandam, from left, sort through goods they've collected to benefit people in need.
David R. Crane/Staff Photographer