's cafeteria became home to a fundraiser today to help San Bruno's sister city in Japan after the tsunami and earthquake devastated a large swath of the country. About 150 people came to make origami cranes and show their support by giving donations.
"We are trying to raise money for our sister city Narita, Japan. There is a belief in Japan that if you create 1,000 origami cranes, good things will happen and your troubles will go away," Mayor Jim Ruane said at the event. "We know from their disaster and our disaster that it doesnt happen overnight, but we sure want to get it started."
Children and adults alike sat at tables working as groups to make the origami, while a local band played contemporary rock music to set the mood.
One of the coordinators of the fundraiser, Johnna Cabrerra, a Parkside teacher who has been coordinating the city's student exchange program with Narita for the last 10 years, said the purpose of the fundraiser was to send a nice gesture to the people in that city—which wasn't damaged in the earthquake—because they sent donations to San Bruno immediately after the Sept. 9 fire in the Crestmoor neighborhood.
"I think it teaches the kids here empathy as well, which is very important when there is trouble around the world," Cabrerra said. "It's good for children to know that we are not alone and that we are part of a bigger community, and to help those in need in the spirit of friendship and community."
The community didn't reach its goal of making 1,000 cranes, Cabrerra said, but it was the spirit of the gesture that counted.
Ruane said the school district is going to gather all the funds collected from the event and write one relief check to Narita on behalf of the entire community.
For more information about helping Narita in the wake of the Japan disaster, visit the city's website.