The Paradise High School football team will head to San Francisco Monday, thanks to a special invitation from the San Francisco 49ers.
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. Many of the Paradise players lost homes in the Camp Fire, and they were forced to forfeit their playoff game last week.
Paradise High School Principal Loren Lighthall said he also lost his home in the fire, along with almost everyone else who lives in the town. He said the invitation from the NFL team was a much-needed bit of good news to share with his students.
"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."
The 49ers strength and conditioning coach, Shane Wallen, grew up in Paradise, and graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and Butte College. His father's home in Magalia was destroyed.
Wallen has started a GoFundMe page to help with Camp Fire relief efforts. Some of the Niners players have been retweeting the page. As of Monday morning, the fund had raised $18,325 of the $50 thousand goal
Lighthall said Paradise High School has also established a GoFundMe page to raise money for students. His goal is to raise $100,000.
The GoFundMe page has a message which reads: "We are raising money for students of Paradise High School. We are a high poverty school with 67 percent of students qualifying for free lunch. We have approximately 1,000 students and almost every one of them have lost their homes and everything they own. If you want to help, please consider giving to the students of Paradise High School."
Paradise High School is one of the only schools in town to survive the fire. But it's unclear when students will be able to return to class there.
"I don't think we'll get into Paradise for probably at least a month," Lighthall said. "It's a war zone. There's just no services, it's not safe. No one will be able to live in Paradise, there's no homes, no hotels, there's no temporary housing or anything for people to live. We'll just have to assess. It's going to take some time."