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Pacific Union College and feeder school Pacific Union College Prep are doing their part in helping those affect by the Camp Fire.

On Friday and Saturday, PUC, a Seventh-day Adventist university in Angwin, will hold an annual youth basketball tournament usually hosted by Paradise Adventist Academy, a K-12 Seventh-day Adventist school located in the now fire-ravaged Butte County town of Paradise. The event will also serve as a fundraiser, with all door donations and proceeds from concessions and “Paradise Pride” T-shirts going directly to PAA to assist in its recovery efforts.

Officially, the tournament will be cohosted by PUC Prep and PAA, but PUC Prep Director of Athletics Matthew Lee wants the event be inclusive.

“We’re trying to give a lot of the ownership to Paradise still, as far as the tournament goes,” he said Thursday. “So it’s still kind of their tournament and kind of our tournament; it’s a split thing. We want to have them feel like it’s still theirs but also try and make it a big fundraiser for them at the same time.”

The tournament runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday and from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Boys and girls teams from four schools will compete.

It is a tournament PUC Prep has attended for years, along with Escondido Adventist Academy of Southern California and Milo Seventh Day Adventist of southern Oregon. When the Camp Fire broke out, the tournament was called off – until the idea was tossed around that the Eagles host it.

“I actually had a student approach me who said, ‘Hey, we should invite them to come here and do a fundraiser for it all.’ I just thought that was awesome and a great idea,” Lee said. “I had been toying around with doing the tournament here but this student just came said, ‘Hey, let’s do a fundraiser.’”

On Nov. 16, PAA confirmed the plan.

“We hit Thanksgiving break and there were a few plans being made, but not a ton happening,” Lee said. “And then this Monday hit and it was just ‘boom,’ it just exploded. Everyone has been calling and emailing and asking how they can help, which is just wonderful. There are a lot of things to take care of and arrange.”

Pacific Union College will host and house members of the visiting teams. Community groups in the area are donating six full meals for each of the teams and are also paying the fees for the referees.

“The community has really rallied around this thing,” Lee said.

As far as volunteers go, Lee has been working closely with PUC to get student volunteers to work the scoreboards, concessions and entrance.

“People are welcome to come out,” Lee said. “I’m not sure how many volunteers we’ll need as far as helping run things, but if they want to come out and watch and support, by Saturday that’s probably what we’re going to need.”

The high school is also accepting direct donations that it says will get passed on to those in need.

“If people want to give, PUC Prep is a 501c3, so they can donate to us and then we’ll donate pass it on, or if Paradise has their own thing, that’s also OK,” he said. “But if people actually want to give separately from coming to the tournament, we are taking donations to put some stuff together for them.”

Lee said he doesn’t know the extent of damage to the PAA campus, but said that a K-4 Seventh-day Adventist School affiliated with the school has been destroyed.

“Right now, they haven’t gotten in to assess the full damage,” Lee said. “The concern is that there was some damage to the basement of the gym but I don’t think they have a real good grasp of the damage to the school because they aren’t able to get back in there yet.”

The PAA girls team plays the first game of the tournament at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. The boys team plays at 11 a.m.

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