ShelterBox was founded to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disasters and humanitarian crises around the world.
In April 2000, the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England adopted ShelterBox as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become the largest Rotary club project in the world, with affiliates in countries across the globe.
In 2002, ShelterBox's American affiliate was adopted as a project of the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota, Fla. In 2004, ShelterBox USA was officially established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The first consignment of 143 boxes was sent to earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001. Over the next three years, the project matured, and by the end of 2004, nearly 2,600 boxes had been dispatched, following 16 major disasters. On December 26, 2004, news came of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami and ShelterBox faced its most significant challenge, one that would change its course forever. Donations and volunteers poured in and ShelterBox was able to ramp up our operations on a scale unimaginable just six months earlier.
In 2005, ShelterBox sent out more than 22,000 boxes, almost 10 times the number delivered in the previous three years. Not only were we sending aid to survivors of the tsunami, but we were also able to help those who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina in the USA and the massive earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan. In just a few short months, ShelterBox had emerged as a major player in the field of international disaster relief.
Since then, we have worked in numerous countries around the globe, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflict.