Rotary Clubs dedicated to ShelterBox's global aid mission
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WEST SPRINGFIELD One man's idea to bring shelter and supplies to disaster victims has evolved into the multi-national non-profit organization ShelterBox Inc. that has aided citizens in 31 countries since 2001.
The organization was founded in Great Britain by Rotarian Tom Henderson of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard and has since expanded into the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. ShelterBoxes are large, green plastic containers filled with a tent for 10 people, thermal blankets, insulated sheets, waterproof ponchos, a multi-fuel stove, cooking pans, dishes, silverware, water containers, water purification tablets, a tool kit and a children's packet containing activity books and writing utensils.
Earlier this year, the West Springfield Rotary Club hosted Peter Klock, district representative for ShelterBox and treasurer of the East Hartford Rotary Club, to discuss the viability to donating to the organization. Derek Benton, president of the West Springfield Rotary Club, told Reminder Publications that the rotary club will be donating to the ShelterBox relief efforts; however, he was unable to specify an amount.
Klock noted that each ShelterBox costs $1,000 but also includes response teams on the ground to set up the equipment for disaster victims.
"For a grand you get a lot of value," he said.
Klock explained that he has been traveling throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts to speak to Rotary Clubs about the importance of supporting ShelterBox.
"I'm not a salesman but it's easy to get excited [about doing] something to help people," he said.
Peter's wife Sue Klock, president of the East Hartford Rotary Club, explained, "Right now we are reinforcing the message of ongoing need ShelterBox is continually replacing inventory, to be ready to pack area-appropriate boxes when a request is made by a Rotary Club or disaster relief agency. Also, boxes are continually being designated for the effort to provide relief for families displaced by ethnic strife in Africa, 'A Million for Africa,' which is spearheaded by ShelterBox in cooperation with UNICEF and the United Nations High Command for Refugees."
The organization has set a goal of sending 100,000 ShelterBoxes for one million natural or manmade disaster victims in Africa, where there are approximately 15 million displaced people.
"When [people are victims of] natural disasters they don't have anywhere to lay their head at night," Benton said. "[ShelterBox will] give [victims] peace of mind that when people do have a natural disaster they will have a place to go."
Klock noted that the organization has set a goal for ShelterBoxes to Africa but does not neglect the needs of disaster victims in other nations around the globe.
To make a donation or for more information about ShelterBox Inc. go to www.shelterbox.org.