WALNUT CREEK -- The local community is joining together to help a beloved teacher whose wife died of cancer Nov. 9.

Jeff Loving and his wife, Brenda, had recently adopted four children from Ethiopia when Brenda Loving was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Now former students of Jeff Loving, a P.E. teacher at Walnut Creek Intermediate, are helping raise money for the family. Former student Aly Walsh posted on the fundraising site GoFundMe that "Mr. Loving" needs help.

He "is a mentor in our community, as he is a teacher, coach and friend to many," she said. "Faced with raising a family of four on his own, now is the time for the community to give back to a man who has given so much."

The goal is to raise $60,000; in just six days, more than $27,000 has been donated by 337 people.

Friends and family are gathering tonight to hold a Las Lomas High School Alumni basketball game. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. in the school's gym, 1460 S. Main St. All proceeds will go to the Loving family.

Jeff Loving played basketball for Las Lomas when he was a student there and went on to coach the school's basketball team for many years. He will be one of the players tonight.

Kathy Battaglia, a 40-year friend of Jeff's, is helping organize the basketball game. She believes so many people are touched by this because Jeff Loving has always been an example of a loving husband, father, friend and teacher.

"He is absolutely adored by his students," she said. "I think everyone is touched by the love he showed his wife during her long struggle with cancer and now for the love he shows his four, young children that he is left to care for on his own."

To donate go to www.gofundme.com/5dscyw.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.