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Birney Elementary Bouncing Back From Fire

Aired 2/3/12 on KPBS News.

University Heights elementary school sees flood of donations after fire.

— The parking lot of New Vision Christian Fellowship in University Heights will be filled with food trucks Friday afternoon. They'll be raising money for Alice Birney Elementary. The school lost the use of its cafeteria and auditorium after an arsonist set fire to the buildings early in the morning on Jan. 17.

Students have been flexible and resilient since the school reopened, according to Amanda Hammond-Williams, the school's principal.

“I think we’re doing pretty good. We’re kind of back in business as far as the daily routine is concerned," she said. "We’ve reestablished an outdoor cafeteria using a party tent.”

Kitchen staff wheel hot breakfast and lunch out to the tent for students and before and after school programs have started back up in classrooms instead of the damaged auditorium.

The food truck rally was the first organized fundraiser they’ve had to make up for the $50,000 worth of supplies lost in the fire. But even without an organized effort Hammond-Williams said they’ve recovered about half the value of what hey lost.

“We’ve been completely amazed and overwhelmed by the number of donations that came in both of games, supplies, toys, recess equipment as well as money," she said. "We’re very appreciative because the community has just been amazing.”

San Diego County Barnes and Nobles stores will be donating part of the proceeds from purchases made between Feb. 10 and 24 to the school when customers say they’re shopping for Birney Elementary.

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