B'ville Rotary donates Shelterboxes to Haiti

When disaster hit Haiti three weeks ago, Baldwinsville Rotarians felt a duty to help our Caribbean neighbors. Through Shelterbox USA, the service organization has provided shelter, supplies and tools for approximately 20 people.

"[Shelterboxes are] a great way to help in disaster situations," said Ann Smiley, president of the Baldwinsville Rotary Club. "We had considered funds for food, water and more, but this is where the immediate assistance was going and we thought that the shelter boxes were a long term way for us to help."

At a cost of $1,000 each, a single Shelterbox can provide a 10-person family with shelter, tools, supplies and water for up to three months. In December, the Rotary Club decided to donate a single Shelterbox, waiting to send the money until after the holidays. After the earthquake in Haiti, the club raised more money to donate a second with both Shelterboxes being designated for Haiti.

"When many of us feel so helpless during these difficult times, in some small way we know this is a help," Smiley said, adding the club donated a Shelterbox after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. "One of our missions as Rotarians is to assist in many areas of health, poverty, hunger and education both locally and internationally. As Shelterbox USA is a Rotary based organization, this is a perfect fit for us."

About Shelterbox USA

Sponsored by service clubs, school and church groups, businesses and individuals, materials for Shelterboxes are ordered from a range of suppliers. Materials are selected for general use, long-life, quality and price. Shelterboxes are prepared and packed using all new materials as delivered from manufacturers at the Shelterbox warehouse based in Helston, Cornwall. The standard Shelterbox weighs 110 lbs. and each is sealed for transit and security. Box contents vary depending on the nature of the disaster requiring their use and have been used by Indian Ocean Tsunami victims, Hurricane Katrina victims, refugees in Africa and many other areas across the world.

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