‘Kiss Spank the Pig’ Challenge Raises $43K for Ukraine Response

Media Contact: Jeremy Jacobs, [email protected], (858) 531-3362 

ANCHORAGE, AlaskaShelterBox USA, a global disaster and conflict relief organization, today thanked “Spank,” a 30-pound micro-mini pig, and the Rotary Clubs of Alaska for their fundraising efforts to support ShelterBox’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Ukraine. 

Rotary District 5010 hosted a “Kiss Spank” event last weekend, surpassing their $37,000 goal and raising more than $43,000 so far for ShelterBox. Rotary Clubs from across the state attended, shoving $1,3000 into Spank’s tutu, and cheering on District Governor Cheryl Metiva as she kissed the 3-year-old pig. 

“We are deeply grateful for Spank and the tremendous efforts by Rotary District 5010,” said ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray. “We are glad everyone had fun at the event, and the funds raised will go to critical, life-saving humanitarian work in and around Ukraine that is urgently needed.” 

For more than 20 years, ShelterBox has provided shelter and other essential items to the most vulnerable forced from their homes by disaster and conflict. It is currently responding to the war in Ukraine, setting up multiple programs for the 12 million people who have had to flee their homes in the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. 

Every club stepped up, and it was a great opportunity to spread the love.” 

Rotary District 5010 spans all of Alaska and has 1,500 members. District Governor Cheryl Metiva said the effort has received 100 percent participation from all of Alaska’s 37 Rotary Clubs.  

“It was a fun way to engage people in learning what ShelterBox is all about,” Metiva, whose husband Marty, donned a pig nose and tutu to encourage giving at the event, said. “Every club stepped up, and it was a great opportunity to spread the love.” 

The Rotary event was organized by Jess Gutzwiler, a ShelterBox ambassador. She thanked District Governor Metiva, adding that there is broad support for ShelterBox’s mission in Alaska.  

“So many people are passionate about what ShelterBox is doing and, of course, seeing their District Governor kiss Spank didn’t hurt,” Gutzwiler said, adding that the district hopes to raise at least $2,000 more to reach $45,000. 

ShelterBox provides humanitarian aid in the form of family-sized tents and essential tools to start repairing and rebuilding homes. The organization’s kits and boxes are tailored to each response, frequently items such as cooking sets, solar lights, blankets, water filters, and activity sets for children. 

ShelterBox has deployed to disasters like the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and it launched its largest response to date in the Philippines after Typhoon Rai last December.  

It is currently undertaking a major response to the crisis in Ukraine, which has forced almost 5.5 million people to leave the country and has displaced another 7.7 million internally. ShelterBox has established programs including sending thousands of mattresses to “collective centers” like schools, churches, and sports arenas in Lviv, as well as “ShelterKits” containing rope, tools, solar lanterns and other items into Central Ukraine for those sheltering in damaged homes. It is also providing portable items like hygiene kits and cash assistance to refugees who have fled the country to Moldova.  

ShelterBox has responded in Ukraine twice previously, in 2003 and 2008, and has experience in protracted conflict zones, including 10 years of work in Syria. 

Kerri, Jess and Cheryl are available for interviews. Photos below, additional photos available.  

District Governor Cheryl Metiva kissed Spank at a Rotary fundraising event. Photo courtesy of Metiva.
Spank the Pig. Photo courtesy of Gutzwiler.


A South Carolina Rotary District has raised more than $100,000  for ShelterBox’s Ukraine crisis response.


The real estate and property management software company has contributed $100,000 to ShelterBox’s Ukraine crisis response. 


ShelterBox is sending a team to eastern Europe to assess the humanitarian needs of people fleeing Ukraine.