Sturdy shelter in a box

Gold Country Rotary members raise funds to send shelter all over world
By: Bridget Jones Journal staff writer
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Auburn Gold Country Rotary Club is helping provide shelter to victims of disasters all over the world. The club is taking part in a program called ShelterBox. The program sends lightweight, waterproof boxes all over the world to aid with disaster relief. Each box contains a tent made for 10 people to live in for approximately six months. The boxes also contain basic necessities like blankets, sheets, a tool kit, a multi-fuel stove, a water purification system and a children’s pack containing coloring books and crayons. The tents themselves can withstand hurricane-force winds if built properly, said Alan Young, a member of Gold Country Rotary and advocate of the program. Young, who worked in disaster relief in Haiti shortly after the recent deadly earthquake, said the most important thing about the box is that it provides a means of shelter. “Because people need a place to live while they’re trying to rebuild their lives,” Young said. “This Rotary project is a global project and is designed specifically to shelter the victims. In order to meet the needs of people some kind of sheltering is needed.” Tom Henderson, a Rotarian and former member of the Royal Navy, founded ShelterBox in 2000 in the United Kingdom. The cost of funding each box is $1,000. The Gold Country Rotary Club has funded four boxes so far this year, according to Young. At a club meeting Thursday, two groups made donations through Gold Country Rotary to further the ShelterBox cause. Dennis Williams of Auburn Daybreak Rotary club donated $1,000 on behalf of his club. Williams said it was the relief effort in Haiti that inspired his club to donate. “We saw what they’ve been doing for the people in Haiti … and we decided that would be a worthwhile project to donate to,” Williams said. Thomas “TJ” Jackson, president of Gold Country Rotary, said ShelterBox goes hand in hand with the mission of Rotary International. “For one thing Alan Young … went to Haiti and kind of awoke all of our desires to be able to help,” Jackson said. “And Rotary is all about helping here and around the world.” Preceptor Mu Phi, the Auburn-based chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, made a $500 donation Thursday. Sorority member Lindy Young said this project was important to her club because Beta Sigma Phi is an international sorority and some of the boxes might be sent to areas where sorority members live. Jeanette Bullock, Gold Country Rotary member and former executive director of the Pomona Valley chapter of the American Red Cross, said she did a lot of research and couldn’t find anything negative about the unique program. “This is one of the most effective, transparent, cost-effective efforts I’ve seen,” Bullock said. Once funding is collected for a box, the money is sent to the ShelterBox organization. While donators can’t pick the destinations of their boxes, the organization assigns each box with a tracking number that can be used to follow the box’s journey once it has been deployed, Bullock said. Food and water are not included in the boxes because ShelterBox does not want to duplicate the work of other relief organizations, Young said. Bullock said anyone in the Auburn community is welcome to contact the club for information on fundraising or to make donations. “We will accept funding, we will encourage funding from anyone in Auburn who is willing to help,” she said. Any amount of money can be donated toward a ShelterBox. Alan Young said community members could make a big difference in the lives of those around the world by getting involved in this program. “If they want to make donations to a worthy cause that will save lives, the Rotary ShelterBox program is a way to do that,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------- ShelterBox Website: For local donation information call: Alan Young (916) 764-1225 Jeanette Bullock (530) 269-1077