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Rotary clubs provide shelter for thousands following disaster in Haiti PDF Print E-mail

By Lori Pankonin

The Imperial Republican

Area Rotary Clubs have joined the effort to provide shelter and comfort in the Haiti crisis through the ShelterBox program. As of this week, 2000 boxes have landed in Haiti with more scheduled to arrive.

Each ShelterBox contains a sturdy 10-person tent with privacy partitions designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. It also has supplies for 10, including blankets, ground covers, a cooking stove, pots, pans, utensils, a water purification system, a fun kit for children, shovels, picks, saws, writing paper, pencils and measuring devices.

Rotarian John Long announced at the Grant meeting last week that he and his wife, Kris, would donate one of the $1,000 ShelterBoxes and challenged others to consider the project. Within minutes, others in the small group pooled their funds for yet another box and members who were not at that meeting will have a chance to donate this week.

Imperial Rotary President David Kahle said his club had just addressed providing $1,000 for the ShelterBox program the week prior to the Haiti incident. So it was a given to go ahead with the idea at their meeting last week and they would like to challenge the community to join in the effort as well.

Grant Rotary President C.J. Rezac serves as ShelterBox Chairman for the district. She said as she fielded phone calls and learned about all the consistent donations and good works going on with ShelterBox, she wept. 

“I am truly humbled with the action taken in our district. This is the spirit that gives life!” she said.

Rezac introduced ShelterBoxes to Grant during a health fair last year where one of the tents was set up. 

The Rotary International project started 10 years ago and has now provided shelter in all continents after earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis and conflict.

ShelterBox’s Founder and CEO Tom Henderson of the United Kingdom said, “In terms of logistics, the aid operation in Haiti has been the most challenging in the last decade with only one airport on the island which was originally shut down." However, determination finds people working together to make it happen.

Only Rotarians or other world volunteer organizations deliver the boxes and supervise the raising of the tent cities. No governments are allowed to take possession of the disaster relief boxes.

Anyone interested in helping provide a ShelterBox may send donations to their local Rotary club. Donations of any size are welcomed with combined efforts making up more survival boxes. 

Checks made out to ShelterBox USA may also be sent to Chairman C.J. Rezac, P.O. Box 606, Grant ,NE 69140.