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Rotary sponsors boxes for shelter, warmth and dignity

By Staff | May 21, 2013

Displaying some of the life sustaining tools packed in a Shelter Box destined for disaster areas are (L-R): Stephanie Casale, and Rotarians Richard Langer, Tammy Hunsinger, John Smay and David Wallis.

MUNCY-“Boots on the ground in 24 hours is the objective of the Shelter Box organization,” said Tammy Hunsinger during her May 15 presentation to members of Muncy’s Rotary Club.

It had been noted that following various types of disasters, food and medical supplies arrive. But to survive the elements, the immediate need for shelter and life sustaining items were absent. Founded in England in the year 2000, the Shelter Box organization works to fill this vacuum.

The speaker described the logistics of the effort in a ‘show and tell’ with an actual box and contents. Contained in the green box was a 14-foot eight-sided tent accommodating six to 10 people, a moisture resistant floor mat, blankets, hats and gloves, and mosquito netting if applicable. Also included was a tool box containing a shovel, saw and other various tools that might be needed. A stove and cooking ware, a water purifier, solar lighting lasting two years and children’s activity sets were also contained in the Shelter Box.

“These boxes are staged in strategic areas around the globe where disasters tend to occur and they’re occurring at a more frequent rate,” Hunsinger said. She also said, “The boxes have already gone through customs so they’re ready for instant deployment along with trained volunteers for speedy delivery and setup.”

Those in attendance were impressed with the fact that donors are able to track their Shelter Box through the organization’s website. Each container is given a number which can be followed from manufacture to a staging area, and finally to persons in need. The entire outfit, setup teams and travel costs amount to $1,000 per box.

Thus far, local and international Rotary Clubs have covered one-third of the costs, with cooperate and private donors providing the rest.

To date, 27,000 Shelter Boxes were distributed and 135,000 tents. They’ve gone to 170 disasters in 70 countries including the United States at such places as Joplin, Arkansas, Florida and survivors of Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast.

If any club or organization would like to sponsor a box, contact the Muncy Rotary or any Rotary Club in the area. Learn more about the organization by going to www.shelterbox.org.