Rotarian John Slaughter looks over the contents of a ShelterBox.
BELLEAIR – Emily Sperling, president of ShelterBox USA Inc., recently gave the Rotary Club of Clearwater a presentation about ShelterBox and how Rotary helps the organization worldwide.
With a full-pitched tent large enough for an extended family on display in the dining room of the Belleair Country Club, Sperling described how ShelterBox instantly responds to natural or other disasters by providing shelter, warmth and dignity to survivors worldwide. Since 2000, the organization has responded to more than 180 disasters in more than 80 countries immediately following disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, cyclones, tsunamis or conflict. The contents of a ShelterBox are tailored to the nature and location of the disaster. Each ShelterBox typically contains a tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, water purification kit, blankets, tools, and other necessities to help a family survive after a disaster.
ShelterBox is an official Rotary project partner. Since its inception, ShelterBox grew from one club’s adopted project to the largest global Rotary club project. In 2012, ShelterBox became Rotary International’s first project partner, which enables both organizations to collaborate more closely to bring relief and temporary shelter to survivors of disasters worldwide. The fundraising efforts by Rotarians make up a significant proportion of donations received by ShelterBox. Alongside this, Rotary Clubs provide invaluable logistical support to field operations. ShelterBox aims to get the first shipment of boxes dispatched to a disaster area within two to three days where a ShelterBox Response Team meets it. Often ShelterBox is the first outside aid agency on the ground.
The Rotary Club of Clearwater was organized in 1924 by a group of 10 Clearwater businessmen. The local club currently consists of more than 125 members, and is part of Rotary International, which has more than 25,000 clubs around the world. The Rotary Club of Clearwater meets each Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at Belleair Country Club.