High School Students in Oxnard Collect Donations for SCE Crews Working Wildfires

Rio Mesa High School students work with teachers and the community to collect bottled water and toiletries for first responders and crews battling Thomas fire in North Coast.

Students and teachers at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard know firsthand the devastation of the Thomas fire near Santa Paula that has so far consumed 132,000 acres. Their school has been closed this week and some at the school have also been evacuated from their homes.

But on Thursday morning, their focus was on ways they can help. And the students and teachers decided they wanted to collect donations for the first responders and Southern California Edison crews currently battling the fires.

“The students should get all the credit. They wanted to focus on the first responders. They just want to help. 

Ingrid Brennan
teacher, Rio Mesa H.S.

“The students should get all the credit. They wanted to focus on the first responders,” said Ingrid Brennan, an English teacher at Rio Mesa High School. “They just want to help. This is happening in our area and we want to be helpful.”

With four pickup trucks filled with donations — bottled water, packaged snacks, toiletries, eye drops and Gatorade — Brennan, fellow teachers and students drove to SCE’s Ventura Service Center to drop off the items for the SCE crews.

Job Matas, an SCE construction support specialist, was one of the employees who greeted the students and teachers from Rio Mesa and was humbled by all the generous donations.

“I was super overwhelmed,” he said. “We are just doing our regular jobs. We are so grateful.”

Matas has been making sure the SCE crews out of the Ventura Service Center have enough food, water and supplies during this current wildfire. Local shops had started to run out of Gatorade, so he was pleased to see that the students had brought large amounts of the energy drink as part of their donations.

Students and teachers at Rio Mesa used social media to ask for donations and parents at the school also chipped in. Within a day, donations had filled more than four trucks.

“I want to thank them … this has been so fulfilling,” said Matas.

The school collected donations until 6 p.m. tonight and later this evening the teachers and students plan to drop off some more items at SCE’s laydown yard area in Ventura.

“I am so impressed with our students,” said Brennan. “It was their baby and this wouldn’t have happened without them.”