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High school students send sifters to Camp fire victims

BSAN MARCOS — After the Camp fire devastated the town of Paradise and surrounding areas in Northern California, Vista resident Tara Razi, an alumna of nearby CSU Chico, wanted to do something meaningful to help. 

“What do you get people who don’t have a home?” Razi asked. “I didn’t know what I could do for them from down here that didn’t necessarily involve only financial help.” 

Razi reached out to her old advisors from Chico State to see what the affected families needed. 

She decided sifters would be most beneficial, after hearing several heartwarming stories from her former colleagues.   

“One woman went to exactly where her bathroom would’ve been, and she used a sifter and found her wedding ring,” Razi shared. “So I thought to myself, OK, that’s something we could actually do.” 

As a U.S. history teacher at San Marcos High School, Razi wanted to get the student community involved in this project. 

The woodshop class built the sifters, and the art classes painted them. On Dec. 17 at 7:30 a.m., a truck service — donated by the San Diego-based company GoShare — came to pick up 53 sifters and deliver them to Razi’s contact in Chico that same day for distribution.  

“It will reach more than 53 families because families all share,” Razi explained. “The ladies I’ve been in contact with up north are really excited to get them.”  

Senior Sidney Adame, one of Razi’s former students, rallied the art classes to paint the blank sifters once she heard what Razi wanted to do. 

As a member of the school’s Associated Student Body, Adame was focused on ways the school could give back this season.  

“I’m already kind of in that zone,” Adame said. “I wanted to bring it into the art program and see if anyone wanted to do it, and they were all excited to help.”   

Students in the AP art classes uniquely painted each sifter, but each one contained the same message — “SMHS is thinking of you.” Adame said this project provided some important perspective for her and her fellow students. 

“We’re so caught up in our own little world,” Adame said. “During these times, I think a lot of people can get stressed out about the wrong things, and this is a good time to take a step back and really appreciate what we have, and the beautiful things we get to do for people.” 

The project was fueled wholly by donations — Home Depot donated four rolls of mesh, while the woodshop class provided the wood. 

GoShare, the business that donated the delivery services, also got involved through a student. 

The company connects van or truck owners with people who need cargo transported — it’s like Uber or Lyft, but instead of transporting people, they carry bulkier objects. 

The school quarterback’s father is a vice president at the company, and they put Razi in touch with CEO Shaun Savage, who was also eager to get involved.

“We wanted to find a way to help,” Savage said. “This was a good opportunity that came up, and it was right in our wheelhouse.” 

In reflecting on the project, Razi explained how touched she was by the way the Chico community supported Paradise. 

It was similar, she said, to how North County came together to help Fallbrook following the Lilac fire. 

And now that the sifters are delivered, Razi hopes they will help families uncover some things they weren’t sure they’d ever get back. 

“If they could find artifacts, if they can find personal jewelry and personal belongings with these sifters, we’ve done our job,” Razi said. “Hopefully it brings a little smile to the families’ faces.” 

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