Virtual Benefit Raises Over $200K in Disaster Relief Funds

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Global disaster relief organization ShelterBox USA hosted 200 guests to its virtual “Evening to Experience ShelterBox” last Thursday, raising more than $200,000 to replenish its warehouses after a busy year that has included responses to the war in Ukraine, catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, and historic drought in Eastern Africa. 

The “Evening to Experience ShelterBox” is hosted online annually. Like ShelterBox USA’s in-person event in September, it provides an opportunity to learn about ShelterBox’s history, aid items, and current responses around the world.  

“We are deeply grateful to everyone who attended our event,” said ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray. “Whether it is through spreading the word about ShelterBox, volunteering their time, or donating, these amazing supporters allow us to reach more families around the world who have lost everything in an instant. There are more than 100 million displaced around the world right now – more than ever before – and our work has never been more important.” 

Founded in 2000, ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items following disasters or in conflict zones. ShelterBox began with its iconic green box, which included everything a family needs immediately after losing everything in a disaster. It has since evolved to provide customized aid, including tents and various shelter options, solar lights, water filters, cook sets, and other items. 

On Thursday, ShelterBox USA’s event featured videos highlighting beneficiaries of the global organization’s work in Ukraine, Haiti, and Cameroon.  

Guests also learned details about ShelterBox’s responses in 2022, one of the busiest years in its history. In Ukraine, for example, ShelterBox was one of the first humanitarian organizations on the ground, quickly establishing three programs. One provided 12,000 mattresses to those fleeing to collective centers like schools and churches in Western Ukraine; another sent Shelter Kits including tarps, tools, and water filters to those sheltering in damaged homes in the central part of the country; and a third provided hygiene kits and cash assistance to refugees fleeing Ukraine through Moldova, one of the poorest and most isolated countries in Europe. 

That work earned ShelterBox USA the United Nation Association of Santa Barbara’s 2022 “Peace Prize” last month. Local Congressman Salud Carbajal also presented the organization with “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” for its work.  

Murray also discussed ShelterBox’s work in conflict zones such as the Lake Chad basin in Africa, which earned ShelterBox nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and 2019. And she discussed new responses to the historic drought in Ethiopia and Somalia that has displaced more than 1 million people searching for food and water.  

Guests were invited to make donations online if they were inspired by the work. An anonymous donor matched gifts up to $100,000. 

The program concluded with remarks from Steven Tonkinson, a member of the ShelterBox USA Board of Directors and the ShelterBox Response Team, a group of highly trained volunteers who deploy to the frontlines after disasters. Tonkinson was also a ShelterBox “Adventurer” this year, hiking the equivalent of the elevation of Mount Everest, 29,029 feet with a large green ShelterBox on his back to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox. Tonkinson ultimately raised $60,000.   


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.