Shelter Box is a project partner with Rotary International, a global community of 1.2 million neighbours, friends and community leaders.  By working together with Rotary, Shelter Box is able to collaborate and combine resources to ensure that more communities in desperate need of shelter can be supported.  At any given time Shelter Box Response Teams are on the ground, supporting families to recover after disaster and conflict all over the world.  Rotary is with them every step of the way.  The partnership has provided a place of refuge to people facing some of the most difficult and uncertain moments in their lives.
Rotarian Dr. Ruth Mathieson introduced Stephanie Christensen, Executive Director with Shelter Box Canada where she has been working for eight (8) years dealing with humanitarian needs and reaching the most remote communities around the world.  Shelter Box provides emergency shelters to families who have lost their homes to disaster or conflict.  The most vulnerable families around the world are helped by Shelter Box and Rotary International.  Since 2000, Shelter Box has provided aid to over two million people in 98 countries.
Recovery starts with shelter, having a private place for your family to be together and call home.  Shelter Box provides privacy and security.  When families don't have to worry about where they will sleep, they can begin the process of self-recovery.  Shelter Box provides shelter, tools and household items like solar lights, water filters and cooking sets.  In the last five years, shelter provision has been consistently underfunded and Shelter Box is doing everything they can to ensure that no family is left without shelter and tools to survive.
Family tents are supplied.  They are large enough for a family, sturdy and can withstand extreme weather conditions and temperatures.  They are fire retardant and come with a winter liner if required.  The tool kits contain a selection of materials, including ropes, heavy-duty tarpaulins to make emergency shelters or in some instances, corrugated iron to help make resilient roofing.  The kits can include mosquito nets if applicable, blankets, first aid kits.  Shelter Box works with the community, the community leaders and Rotary Clubs to take advantage of local sources of procurement.  Steps are taken to ensure the shelter tents are robust and items such as water filters can last long term.  The August 14th earthquake in Haiti resulted in 137,000 homes being damaged or destroyed with 1.2 million people requiring assistance.  Recovery will take time and is challenged with road conditions and gang conflicts.  Shelter Box is positioned to get to hard to reach communities, often those overlooked by others.  What sets Shelter Box apart from other organizations?
  • They put families first, using a flexible approach to understand what is most needed to support the family's recovery
  • They specialize in emergency shelter and the essential tools needed to help rebuild homes
  • They go to hard-to-reach communities
  • They have a global network of supporters raising vital funds to help with their mission.
Pictured is a young mother with a baby who lost everything following a 2015 cyclone in Fiji.  Everything was gone, no food, no home.  With the safety and security of a Shelter Box tent, this young mother was provided with shelter when she had nothing.  Shelter Box and Rotary is making this possible.
Stephanie Christensen thanked the Rotary Club of Belleville for on-going financial support and mentioned the Shelter Box Hero Program where Rotary Clubs can be recognized for their contributions as a Club.  The cost of a full Shelter Box unit is $1,200 Canadian.  Anyone wishing to make a personal donation, can visit Shelter Box website where there is a spot to indicate the Rotary Club source.  Tax receipts will be issued.