Madera Unified collecting gift cards for students and staff impacted by fires

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley school district is finding ways to help families impacted by the Creek Fire.

"The pain that one of our community feels is felt by all of us, so we really felt like we needed to do something," said Madera Unified Superintendent Todd Lile.

As the Creek Fire moved into Madera Unified's back yard, staff decided they needed to do something about it.

"The idea was born to partner with our teachers up in the mountain community and give them gift cards they can pass on to their students and pass on to anyone that in need in the hills," said President of the Madera Unified Linkage Foundation, Tim Riche.

They're collecting $25 gift cards for employees and families impacted by the fires.

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"As things start to get cold and kids need sweatshirts and jackets, they might need mittens and gloves, as teachers are picking up the rubble of their lives," continued Lile. "We'll never be able to anticipate what they need, but they'll know what they need when they face it."

Just three days into the drive they've already collected over a thousand dollars in gift cards, but that's just the start.

"We're telling educators to pass them on to students, but we don't want to limit them to just students. There are some teachers up there that are going to be in need as well," said Riche.

They're asking for donations of gas cards, and visa cards or gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target and Vons.

"We really believe that our educators will know our families best if we can give them just a tiny bit of flexibility to do something good in the world when they're faced with so much," added Lile.

They're collecting cards through September 30th. You can drop off donations at the Madera Unified District Office or contact them via email at

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