When Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, Rotarians across the country came together to provide relief to the victims.
One of the ways they assisted was through ShelterBox USA, a program that delivers boxes filled with tents, blankets and other items to people displaced by natural and man-made disasters.
In March, Rotary International welcomed ShelterBox as its first Rotary project partner. The collaboration allows both groups to bring shelter to victims worldwide.
“Our goal is to house 500,000 people who are refugees every year,” said Jerry Iwerks, a Temple Terrace Rotarian.
Since the groups teamed up, they’ve sent ShelterBoxes to Turkey, Haiti, Russia and Kenya, Iwerks said.
The Temple Terrace Rotary Club brought a ShelterBox to the Hillsborough River Challenge Saturday to teach people more about it.
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Each ShelterBox contains:
- a tent that sleeps 10 people;
- a tool kit with a hammer, ax, saw, shovel, hoe, pliers and wire cutters;
- water filtration for five people for three years;
- a wood burning stove;
- pans, utensils, mugs and water storage containers;
- thermal blankets;
- insulated ground sheets;
- mosquito nets; and
- a children’s pack with drawing books, crayons and pens.
Each box costs $1,000, and Rotarians help fundraise. When a disaster happens, Rotary Clubs also help coordinate where and how ShelterBoxes will be delivered.
“We’re a very benevolent organization that tries to make a difference,” Iwerks said of Rotary.
ShelterBox was created more than a year ago by UK Rotarian Tom Henderson. It’s now the largest international organization that provides life-saving equipment for survival in a transportable box.
When a disaster happens, Iwerks said, food and medicine are often delivered immediately, but a temporary place to call home can be forgotten. ShelterBox and Rotary are filling that void.
“We do shelter, warmth and dignity,” he said.