SOLANA BEACH — After a beloved custodian’s truck was destroyed by a fire, two students at Santa Fe Christian Schools started a fundraiser to replace it, raising thousands of dollars in just a few days.
A fire started under the hood of Clemente Mejia’s truck on Friday, Dec. 3, while he was working inside the school. Santa Fe Christian seniors Sandy Cameron and Dante Rotchford heard about what happened and decided to start a GoFundMe to replace Mejia’s truck.
The fundraiser titled “Help us replace Clemente’s truck!” received more than $32,000 for Mejia in less than three days, with more than 240 people donating to the cause.
“Mr. Mejia does so much for our school and we are so appreciative of his years of service supporting us. We want to do something to help him through this unfortunate situation and help to replace his truck,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Please consider contributing to this truck replacement fund so he knows how much we love and support him.”
According to the school, Mejia has been a custodian and groundskeeper at Santa Fe Christian for more than 25 years. He is described by students and faculty as very beloved by all and a staple to the community.
“Clemente is such an asset to our school and does so much for our community and is such a bright light, and so we had to think: how can we give back to someone who has given so much to us?” Cameron said on a recent episode of “Eagle Perspective,” a Santa Fe Christian podcast.
Just hours after news spread about Mejia’s truck, Rotchford and Cameron, with help from faculty and staff, created the GoFundMe that same day. Over the weekend, students, parents, staff, alumni and members of the community donated to the cause.
On Monday, Dec. 6, Mejia was presented with the good news at a school assembly where he thanked the students and the community for all that they had done.
“It could have been anyone’s car, but it just makes it so much more special that we all could help Clemente, knowing the impact that he’s had in our community,” said Rotchford, a multi-sport athlete for the Eagles.
A spokesperson for Santa Fe Christian said the school would be working with a local dealership to purchase a truck for Mejia. Any extra funds will go toward paying for increased auto insurance, registration, etc.