As everyone is keenly aware, on Jan. 12, a major earthquake caused death, disaster and devastation in the country of Haiti. Homes and buildings were toppled or damaged as a result of this act of nature. A massive relief effort is underway to help the people survive until they can rebuild their lives.
"Sitting home in my warm house with food and water and shelter from the elements, I thought we must do something to help these poor people", said Ed Knapp. President of the Chester Rotary Club of Chester. Within two hours, the club's Board of Directors approved the funding necessary to purchase a Shelter Box for Haiti.
Shelter Box is a nonprofit disaster relief organization sponsored by Rotary clubs world wide and Rotary International. The Shelter Box contains supplies to help up to ten people for six months with a large tent, a stove, pots, eating utensils, rope, tool kit, sleeping mats, blankets, water containers and more. The Shelter Box is delivered directly to the people who need the help and can be tracked by the purchaser to see who actually received the box. Each Box costs $775.
Rotarians Malcolm Summers, Fran Cheslock and Susan Spaulding took up the call and contacted Shelter Box to arrange for the shipment of a disaster relief Shelter Box to Haiti. Summers, a retired international banker, used his ties to the United Kingdom to deal directly with Shelter Box which is headquartered in the UK. Summers said, "We can take advantage of the favorable exchange rates at the present time to get more help to the Haitians for our dollars".
While arrangements were being made for the purchase, Knapp contacted the Rotary District Governor, Michael Swinford of Rotary district 7870 and Assistant Governor Sally Sugarman of Area 11 requesting district funding to purchase a second Shelter Box.
Sugarman, in turn, contacted all of the Rotary Club Presidents in Area 11 to see if they could add to the purchase. Immediately, David Hoopes, President of the Wantastiquet-Londonderry, VT Rotary Club and Lisa Souls, President of the Manchester, VT Rotary Club contacted Knapp to arrange a joint order of Shelter Boxes. Due to the urgent nature of the Haiti situation, an order for three Shelter Boxes was placed on January 15, 2010.
This is one more of the examples of the work, both locally and internationally, performed by Rotary using the funds derived from their many fund raising events. If you are interested in donating to the Haitian disaster relief effort, you can contact the Chester Rotary Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.