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Wednesday 22 February 2012

International Rotary Day
International Rotary Day Local Rotary helping ShelterBox in the Philippines, January 2012.

ShelterBox began in 2000 as one UK Rotary club’s adopted project and soon gained the support of Rotary clubs worldwide. They have been key in the charity’s international growth as many set up some of ShelterBox’s affiliates. ShelterBox would like to use International Rotary Day today to thank them and reflect how its global Rotary community has been helping the charity. 

Rotary clubs across the world have supported ShelterBox in countless different ways, one being their fundraising efforts that make up a significant proportion of donations received by the charity. 

The first Rotary E-Club in Australia chose to raise money to sponsor a ShelterBox as its first project. Last January, the E-Club of Greater Sydney raised AU$1,000. E-Club Chairman Tony Castley personally handed the check to ShelterBox Australia Director and Response Team member Peter Pearce. E-Clubs are designed for people who cannot meet the weekly attendance requirements of a traditional Rotary club. Instead, members meet to exchange ideas and project information and do their Rotary business online. 


Peter Pearce recieving the check from Tony Castley, Greater Sydney, Australia.

"It was so rewarding and refreshing to meet with such a group of excited and motivated Rotarians," said Peter, also a Rotarian. "Thank you Sydney ‘E’ Club. Your contribution of a ShelterBox will make a major difference to a family in real need somewhere in the world. It’s great to have a new club’s first project engage with Rotary’s largest global club project, ShelterBox."

Hell’s Kitchen 

The Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise in New Zealand organized its own version of Gordon Ramsay’s popular television series, Hell’s Kitchen, for the second year running to raise money for ShelterBox. 

140 dinner guests turned up at Tauranga Girls’ College to taste the culinary treats from the 14 volunteer chefs whom had each created a three-course menu for them. Each guest selected a starter, main course and dessert and then had to critique each dish. 

Rotary club member and event organizer Tess Ahern said none of the chefs were professionals: 

"The chefs were members of the Rotary club and were joined by our local MP Simon Bridges. Everyone was really positive and tried really hard but there were some better than others." 

"Each guest sat at a different table for each of their courses, so they got to meet lots of different people and that is part of what the event is all about." 


Local Rotarians in Japan helping ShelterBox after the tsunami, March 2011.

Tickets to the event were NZ$50 and enough were sold to purchase three ShelterBoxes at a cost of NZ$1,500 each. The club also purchased four ShelterBoxes from the previous year’s event. 

Rotarians in Hawaii 

Following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year displacing hundreds of thousands of people, Rotarians in Hawaii worked with ShelterBox USA and ShelterBox International to raise awareness and money for ShelterBox. 

Ann Goody, a Rotarian and ShelterBox supporter, contacted her Rotarian friends asking them to help fundraise for ShelterBox after the disaster struck Japan. Three Rotary clubs of Kona in Hawaii responded to Ann and they all set up the "Kona Aloha for Japan Project." In just three days they raised over $40,000 and overall more than $65,000. 

Some displaced families in Japan also contacted Anne through her Rotarian friends and indicated a need for emergency shelter to help 300 people in Minami Sanriku, a town on Japan’s north east coast that was 95 percent destroyed after the disaster. Anne informed ShelterBox Operations who contacted a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) already on the ground in Japan. They headed to the coastal town to assess the need for emergency aid and found a need there. Consequently, thirty ShelterBoxes were distributed bringing shelter, warmth and dignity to hundreds of people. 


Minami Sanriku in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, March 2011.

Hope 

This is one of the many examples of how Rotarians also provide invaluable logistical support on ShelterBox’s deployments, helping bring hope to the lives of many families made homeless by disasters around the world. 

More recently, local Rotarians helped SRTs set up ShelterBox camps on its latest deployment in the Philippines, following floods and mudslides that began in December. 

"Since day one of the deployment, Rotarians from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan have been vital to our work in the field," said Philippines-based SRT volunteer Abner Tayco. "They have provided much needed logistical support like transport, storage facilities for ShelterBoxes, manpower and security."

ShelterBox would like to thank the global Rotary community for its continuous support that has been instrumental in the work that ShelterBox does around the world.
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