"An Evening to Experience ShelterBox" Returns to Santa Barbara

SUMMERLAND, Calif. — More than 200 people enjoyed an “Evening to Experience ShelterBox” last Thursday, the global disaster relief organization’s annual Tacos and Tequila event that was held for the first time after a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Guests gathered at the home of John McGovern in Summerland for a hands-on experience with the humanitarian organization’s aid items, including many types of relief tents and shelters, solar lights, tools, cooking sets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets, and more. They were also able to meet with ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members, highly trained emergency response who serve for the organization on the frontlines of disaster and crisis situations. 

“We are so inspired and grateful for our local community here in the Santa Barbara area. We are still tallying the results of the event, which have already topped $250,000,” said ShelterBox USA president Kerri Murray. “There are more than 114 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes by disasters and conflict situations, more than any time in recorded history. And that number is only growing due to climate change-driven storms that are becoming more severe and further increasing global displacement.” 

“This support from our local community allows us to have greater scale and impact, helping more families who have lost everything in an instant,” Murray added.  

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential household items to people displaced by catastrophic disasters, like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes and floods, as well as in prolonged conflict and war zones. It has been on the front lines of the war in Ukraine since fighting broke out six months ago, and recently launched responses to the devastating flooding in Pakistan and the historic drought in Eastern Africa. 

This support from our local community allows us to have greater scale and impact, helping more families who have lost everything in an instant.”

Kerri Murray, SBUSA President

At the event, ShelterBox USA presented McGovern with its 2022 Community Partnership Award for his steadfast support of ShelterBox’s global mission of no family without shelter following disaster. McGovern has hosted the local benefit at his home four times, and has served as a long-term volunteer even lending out his trucks to help ShelterBox respond locally after the 2018 mudslides. 

The event was emceed by KEYT reporter John Palminteri, and the crowd enjoyed music from Lawrence Juber, the Grammy-winning guitarist in Beatle Paul McCartney’s band, Wings, as well as renowned guitarist and singer songwriter Steve Postell. Members of the host committee included Kerrileeand Martin Gore, Helga Morris, John Glanville, and John Ilgen 

It also featured remarks from Steven Tonkinson, a member of the highly-trained ShelterBox Response Team who has deployed to 15 disasters around the world. Tonkinson, who also sits on ShelterBox USA’s Board of Directors, also recently raised more than $60,000 as its first “Adventurer,” climbing the altitude of Mount Everest, 29,029 feet, in 36 hours at an event in Utah – all with a large ShelterBox strapped to his back. 

Guests feasted on food and drinks provided by the event sponsors Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, tequila maker Codigo 1530, vodka distiller Goodnight Loving Vodka, and winemaker J Wilkes. Other event sponsors were TGH (Truly Great Homes), Delicious Decors, Montecito Village Travel, MarBorg, Isaac Hernandez De Lipa Photography, Stratus Streaming, TriCo Reprographics, Blue Star Parking, Impact, Yardi, Maps.com, and Community West Bank 

Volunteers from local tech companies Impact and Yardi assisted with the event.  

Event Photos, taken by Isaac Hernandez de Lipa, courtesy of ShelterBox USA 


Holly Rickett, an emergency response legal expert and county attorney, has joined ShelterBox’s Board of Directors.


Dr. Richard Columbia, an international development expert with over 40 years of experience, has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA.


Noaman Sharief has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA in the role of Treasurer.