Madera Unified School District collects over $12,000 in gift cards for Creek Fire victims

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A local school district is partnering with the community to help students still recovering from the Creek Fire.

“I’ve got kids living in trailers next to their house right now because their house is full of smoke,” said Sierra Unified School District Superintendent Alan Harris. “It’s just going to be an ongoing journey.”

After the devastating Creek Fire destroyed countless homes in the community, Madera Unified decided to do something collecting gift cards for families in need.

“Our goal was to get it to the teachers up there and the staff up there and that way, they’re able to pass it on to the people that need it the most,” said President of the Madera Unified Linkage Foundation, Tim Riche.

The plan was to raise $6,000 worth of gift cards, but they’ve already raised more than twice that number, passing the cards along to students in both the Sierra Unified and Chawanakee Unified School Districts.

“At one point, 80% of our families were displaced,” said Harris. “If you could see their faces they just light up, not only receiving it but just knowing people outside of the community care.”

The gift cards are going a long way in providing food, clothes and much-needed supplies.

“Having those gift cards come up and being able to give them to our families and help them in all different ways, it’s going to be a marathon for us,” said Harris.

“Whether it’s work, or school, or church, in the end, we’re an interdependent community,” said Madera Unified Superintendent Todd Lile. “We all knew someone who’d been negatively impacted.”

Madera Unified is still collecting gift cards. You can drop them off at the district office. The address is 1902 Howard Road Madera, CA.

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Shopping centre owner Hammerson collects just 41% of September rents

A deserted Brent Cross shopping centre is seen in London, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs
Hammerson owns shopping centres such as Brent Cross in London. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

Hammerson (HMSO.L), the owner of shopping centres such as Brent Cross in London and Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, said on Thursday it had managed to collect just 41% of rents due for the fourth quarter.

Hammerson said it had collected 38% of September rents in the UK, 33% of rents due in Ireland, and 51% in France. The low collection rates come despite all its shopping centres reopening and 94% of its retail tenants reopening — 99% are open in France.

The company said the shortfall was due to “a combination of rent deferrals, moving to monthly payments, and in some cases waivers, particularly for smaller and independent brands.”

Hammerson pointed out that the fourth quarter rent figure compared favourably to its third quarter performance. The company managed to collect just 16% of third quarter dues on its first attempt.

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The company has now collected 59% of third quarter rents and 66% of all rent due so far this year.

However, rivals are faring better. Capital & Regional (CAL.L), which owns seven shopping centres mainly under “The Mall” brand, said on Thursday it had collected 51% of fourth quarter rents. British Land (BLND.L) said last week it had collected 50% of September retail rents.

“Feedback from our retailers indicates that average transaction values are registering higher than the comparable period last year, with shopper visits being purpose driven,” said Lawrence Hutchings, chief executive of Capital & Regional, in a statement on Thursday.

Shares in Hammerson fell 3%, while Capital & Regional rose 15%.

Capital & Regional shares jumped on the update. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK
Capital & Regional shares jumped on the update. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK

Shares in Hammerson have fallen almost 90% so far this year as national lockdowns have devastated the in-person retail sector. Rival shopping centre operator Intu, which owned the Trafford Centre in Manchester, collapsed into administration in June.

Land Securities (LAND.L), which owns both offices and retail space, said last week it had managed to collect just 33% of September’s quarterly rents from its retail tenants.

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