PTSA organizes collection effort for CUSD fire victims


Courtesy of Anthony Castelli

Seniors Anthony Castelli and Adam Gilmore stand in front of Gilmore’s burned home with a generous donation for the Gilmore family. The Gilmores lost their home in the wildfire that burned through Carlsbad on May 14.

Tragedy struck Carlsbad when recent brush fires left many families with their homes and personal belongings burnt to the ground. Currently, the Carlsbad Unified Council and individual school’s Parent Teacher Student Associations are organizing support for the victims.

“A lot of people wanted to help so the district decided to collect gift cards,” president of the Carlsbad Unified Council and Carlsbad High’s PTSA Kim Szalkiewicz said. “The gift cards should be to stores such as Target, Wal-Mart or Costco to provide those families with immediate relief.”

Families who lost their homes need essential items such as food and clothing. Gift cards to grocery stores or gas stations can be dropped off at any school, including CHS, and will be distributed to the families.

“The overall goal is to get to the people that have immediate needs first because not only did these families lose everything, but the insurance hasn’t processed or they may have not had insurance,” Szalkiewicz said. “Some people don’t even have a change of clothes or gas for their car.”

Although several dozen other families were affected by smoke or water damage, four are in critical need and therefore are the top priority. CSUD principals are working with Mr. Evanson, the director of health and safety at the district, and then relay the information to Szalkiewicz.

“Individual school PTSA’s are organizing restaurant nights for people to go eat at those places, and the donations will go toward the general fund for living expenses,” Szalkiewicz said. “There is more info to come regarding those fundraisers.”

Although this catastrophe will be a long process towards recovery, individuals in the community can make a difference. If people would like to donate cash or checks, they can make them out to the Carlsbad Unified Council; the donations will be used to pay rent and hotel bills.

“Donations are coming in at all the sites; people are being very generous,” Szalkiewicz said. “If anyone has any questions, they can contact me at (760) 703-2379.”