The entire state of California seems to be burning. Wild fires have popped up in both the southern and northern parts of the state with devastating consequences. The death toll of these fires have now reached 31 with more than 200 missing.
In the northern part of the state the Camp Fire is now considered the most destructive in California history.
The backdrop here is the San Francisco 49ers hosting the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in Santa Clara. In the grand scheme of things, the game itself is meaningless. People are not only losing their lives, entire communities have been destroyed. That’s no more prevalent than in Paradise, a small town in the Sierra Foothills.
In attempting to do their part to help the community, the 49ers’ organization has invited the entire Paradise High School football team to attend Monday night’s game.
“The 49ers are providing tickets and buses to their game on Monday Night Football at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara against the New York Giants,” A local ABC News affiliated reported. “Many of the Paradise players lost homes in the Camp Fire, and they were forced to forfeit their playoff game last week.”
School principal Loren Lighthall said he lost his house in the fire, like pretty much the entire local community. He’s also excited for his kids to be given an outlet, even if it’s just for a few hours.
“So many of our kids are struggling with life to begin with, they’re teenagers trying to find their way,” Lighthall said. “I wish more people could go (to the game), I wish we could send the whole town. It’s had a great effect on these kids and me, just to be able to bring them together. It’s a great thing the 49ers are doing.”
It’s small gestures like these that are much bigger than they seem. Giving children a sense of normalcy at a time when their world seems to be unraveling beneath them can go a long way.
As part of the local community, the 49ers know they have a responsibility to lift up those in need. To help those most impacted by this natural disaster. They are doing their part here.
The 49ers also announced initial plans to support those most impacted by the fires.
“In order to maximize assistance to those who have immediate need, the 49ers have named North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) as the new recipient of the proceeds from the 50/50 Raffle during Monday’s game at Levi’s Stadium,” the team announced, via its official website. “The 49ers will provide a dollar for dollar match for the contributions raised by fans during the game against the New York Giants.”
Sports can certainly act as an outlet at times likes these. But those involved in the sports world can do so much more. The 49ers being the latest example of this.