Published October 30, 2020.

This Club Saves Lives, a Carmel High School community service club, ran a Halloween fundraiser for the Food Bank for Monterey County last week to feed families around the peninsula. 

With the money that would normally be spent on candy, people could instead donate to the food bank by buying a Halloween-themed yard sign from the club for $25. The response was bigger than anyone had expected, showing that many Carmel families were hesitant to trick or treat due to possible health risks. In a little over a week, 160 signs were sold, and $3,000 was raised in total, according to the club adviser Leigh Cambra.

Halloween signs at the CHS pickup. (Photo by Marie Mathews)

“I am really excited about the success of the project,” Cambra says, “but I hope we don’t have to do it again and everyone is back to regular trick-or-treating next year.”

Junior Shannon Ikemiya, the secretary-treasurer of This Club Saves Lives, stepped up to the task of designing the signs. Three different designs were created, and people voted on their favorites.  

Shannon Ikemiya proudly displays her design. (Photo by Sonia Ikemiya)

“Having learned graphic design, I thought it would be a fun project to help with,” Ikemiya says.

Cambra got the idea from Peter Hiller, a resident of Mission Fields, the hotspot for trick-or-treaters all around the area. Hiller told Cambra he was planning to put out a yard sign explaining that he was donating instead of passing out candy, and the club took the idea to the next step, imagining a fundraiser to sell signs to others who weren’t comfortable trick-or-treating. 

“The club seemed to really embrace the idea, and I’m thrilled,” Hiller says. “I saw an email that they raised $3,000 that was going to the food bank. That’s way bigger than anything I expected.”

Overall, the fundraiser was a huge success, and Cambra says that This Club Saves Lives would love to do similar projects to bring good into the community, despite special events like Halloween being canceled. 

“I think a lot of us went into this thinking, ‘Oh, community service is going to be really hard,’” Cambra says. “Actually, there’s a lot of cool things you can do, and I think it’s pushing us to be better.” 

This Club Saves Lives has certainly seized the opportunity to help the community.

Published Nov. 7, 2020


This Club Saves Lives, a community service club at Carmel High School, had planned to host a socially distanced version of the annual Thirst Gala on Nov. 13, but their plan was rejected by CHS administration due to safety concerns, postponing the event indefinitely. 

The Thirst Gala is a fundraiser for the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization that builds wells for people who lack access to clean, safe water. This Club Saves Lives has worked with them for five years. 

“In 2015, I connected with Thirst Project and invited them to present to our students,” explains Leigh Cambra, the teacher who advises This Club Saves Lives. “We were motivated to hold a fundraiser to help build a water well, and Thirst Gala was born!” 

According to junior Lily Weisenfeld, a vice president of the club, the plan for this year was to have the CHS Singer-Songwriters’ Guild perform a concert people could watch from their cars. Attendees also could have bought and picked up food from the Carmel restaurant Rise + Roam, which would donate a percentage of their earnings. 

“We still wanted to be able to donate to the Thirst Gala because it’s such an important cause,”says junior Shannon Ikemiya, a treasurer and secretary of the club.

This Club Saves Lives hosts the 2017 Thirst Gala at the CHS theater. This year’s event is still up in the air. (Photo by Leigh Cambra)

However, this year’s event would be much different from past years’, where people would dine and watch a live concert by the CHS Singer-Songwriters’ Guild together. Gusto’s, a local restaurant, and Martinelli’s have donated food and drinks to the fundraiser in the past, and there was a walk for water, an activity where people try to carry 44-pound jerrycans filled with water to simulate what many people around the world go through every day. 

“We basically had to rethink every part of the gala because no one has ever had to plan an event with these (social distancing) requirements before,” Weisenfeld says. 

Although the original plan was deemed unsafe, Cambra says the club is trying to get permission to do a live-streamed concert instead of a drive-in. They also hope people will be able to pick up pizza from the Pizza My Heart at the Del Monte Center and participate in a raffle for Pizza My Heart gift cards on Instagram. 

“Honestly, we just want there to be something,” Cambra says. “Our low expectations were to educate people on the world water crisis, give them a recipe to make at home while listening to a playlist. If we end up doing drive-in music while people eat dinner in their car, we will have actually reached our highest goal.”

Thank you for supporting our Halloween Sign fundraiser! We were able to donate $3,000 to the Food Bank for Monterey County!

This year people are being advised to not trick or treat due to the risk of spreading covid-19. Instead of buying candy, please consider buying a halloween yard sign.

The signs are $25 each and all profits will be donated to the Food Bank for Monterey County.

Thank you to Carmel High School student Shannon Ikemiya for the fun designs. Please vote for your favorite below! We hope to be able to print all three but if we can only print one we want your help in selecting the winner!

When you submit your order you will receive info for paying via Venmo, PayPal, or check. Thank you for your support!

Orders and payment must be received by October 15.

Order form

Usually our club makes 50 blankets to take with us on our Los Angeles trip to donate. Our trip was cancelled and we were not able to finish the blankets in the spring so we took the finished blankets to ALL IN Monterey and club members have received the remaining fleece to make blankets at home.

Thank you to everyone who helped provide dinner, basic necessities, and gift cards to fire victims.

If you are interested in donating blankets and larger items, please take to All In Monterey at Seaside High School.

This Club Saves Lives has been supporting a group effort to help the Cachagua and Carmel Valley residents impacted by the Carmel Fire. Dinner, food, snacks, and basic necessities have been available at the community center in the evenings. Due to the advised evacuation of Carmel Valley Village, we have relocated to the cafeteria at Carmel Middle School.

If you are in need of food or basic needs, assistance is available at the CMS cafeteria at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

With the start of the school upon us our food bank efforts are taking a pause. Please check out the Food Bank for Monterey County and All In Monterey if you are in need of food or looking for somewhere to volunteer.

Thank you to everyone for your support over these last 5 months!