Local high schoolers lead Samoa relief efforts

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside High School Polynesian Club got the word out that food, clothes, water and medical supplies are needed for the Samoa tsunami relief drive, and in response lines of cars dropped off donations at the high school Oct. 10.
“We’re trying to provide clothes, any kind of necessity,” Rachel Segi, Oceanside High School senior and member of the Associated Student Body and Polynesian Club, said.
Oceanside High School students worked with El Camino High School, Carlsbad High School, MiraCosta College, Palomar College and community organizations to collect truckfuls of donations for the Help Samoa Disaster Relief Coalition for American Samoa and Samoa.
“It’s nothing like we expected,” Segi said. “It’s amazing, the amount of donations and volunteers. Lots of students took SATs this morning and then volunteered.”
“It’s great to have this multiracial representation here,” Kimo Marquardt, principal of Oceanside High School, said. “Not just Samoans but all ethnic groups are here for one cause, to help the situation in Samoa.”
Volunteers sorted donations, separating clothing and piling together canned goods and bottled water, then packed the donations into boxes and moved them into trucks that will deliver the supplies to the Help Samoa Disaster Relief Coalition that in turn will forward the donations to Samoa tsunami victims.
“We asked people to look around their house and see what they had to donate,” Segi said. “Many brought new items. You could see the receipts in the bottom of their bags.”
“We’re very blessed to have donations come from everybody in Oceanside,” Marquardt said.
The relief effort is bittersweet for many who are grateful to help but also mourning the loss of family in Samoa.
“A lot of this is in the process of mourning,” Segi said. “People either have lost family members or are friends of people who are mourning or are struggling with the situation.”
“I’m scared for all of those who lost everything they had,” Kailah Pasefika, a relief volunteer, said.
“Since they can’t be in Samoa to help their families this is a way to help out, by putting clothes into boxes,” Junior Paopao, Oceanside resident, said. “We know the love of people of Samoa. People are very generous. We’re really thankful.”
For more information on how to make a donation, visit helpsamoa.com.
See video from the event at www.coastnewsgroup.com.

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