Tom Grant of Zelienople, a "ShelterBox" ambassador, spoke to the Warren Rotary Club recently. Grant, who was honored by President Barack Obama in 2013 for his efforts to help during international disasters, talked about the aid boxes ShelterBox distributes and showed an example.
Approximately every two weeks there is a disaster somewhere in the world that causes peoples' lives to change in an instant. The Warren Rotary Club has joined more than 7,000 Rotary Clubs around the world in aiding those affected by disasters through ShelterBox. This disaster relief organization helps people survive and sustain themselves after such a disaster. It is dedicated to providing warmth, dignity and shelter for those most in need. By providing a shelter that is large enough to accommodate an extended family, members are more likely to remain together and maintain the hope that is so essential to survival. With the other items provided by ShelterBox people can remain self-sufficient as they work to get their lives back together.
ShelterBox aid comes in the form of a green box that contains the means for victims to survive for an extended period of time following a disaster. The box, the size of a large laundry basket, contains a 14 x 14 double-walled tent, a stove, cooking and eating utensils, blankets, a water filtration system, tools and an activity kit for children, among other vital items. Depending on the circumstances, it may also include mosquito netting or a thermal liner.
Tom Grant demonstrates a ‘ShelterBox’
Contents of a ‘ShelterBox’
Since its first deployment in 2002, ShelterBox has responded to more that 230 disasters in more than 90 countries, including the U.S. More than 130,000 boxes have been distributed. International groups with which ShelterBox coordinates its relief efforts are: the Red Cross, various United Nations organizations, the Red Crescent, Oxfam, World Vision, Scouting and local Rotary Clubs and relief agencies in individual nations.
Recent disasters to which ShelterBox has responded include tornados in Oklahoma and flooding in Bolivia and Zimbabwe. Two recent long term commitments have been in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan and helping the more than 2,000,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. The largest deployment to date was to Haiti with more than 30,000 Shelterboxes. Some people have lived in the tents since January, 2010.
ShelterBox is staffed primarily by volunteers. ShelterBox Ambassadors spread the word by educating people about this very worthy cause. They speak to Rotary clubs, churches, community groups, boy scouts and girl scouts and organizations of all kinds. ShelterBox Response Team members, also volunteers, are specially trained to go to the scene of a disaster within a day or two, make an estimate of the needs, and distribute the aid to the neediest victims.
It is the goal of the organization to have boxes on the way to a disaster within 2-3 days. The boxes are dispatched from the headquarters in Cornwall, England, or from the 1,000 boxes that are stored in locations around the world.
ShelterBox is an official partner of Rotary International, whose members give their support through donations and volunteering. Often Rotarians offer essential help in getting aid in their own countries to disaster victims. ShelterBox also has an association with Boy Scouts. In many countries scouts are instrumental in assisting in the deployment and setting up of the tents. Scouts can earn a ShelterBox patch though various activities.
For more information, contact Tom Grant, the ShelterBox Ambassador who serves the Warren Rotary Club at email@example.com or the USA office in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, at shelterboxusa.org.