What's a ShelterBox?
A couple days ago, I saw this article on CNN and posted it to our Facebook page. I thought I'd look a little deeper at the organization and write about it here. One thing about prepping is that by having your family prepared for disasters, that leaves government and charitable resources to be more available to those who are not prepared either through choice or by true need. I advocate being more prepared than you expect to need so that you can become one of those charitable resources as well. The ShelterBox people have taken that thought to the extreme. Their existence is based on being that charitable resource and providing appropriate shelter needs to areas stricken by disaster.
I did most of my research at ShelterBox USA, but there is also ShelterBox International for those of you in other countries. ShelterBox has developed extensive relationships with Boy Scouts and Rotary, and they also have the International Academy for Disaster Relief in Great Britain. According to the tax forms for ShelterBox USA, their salaries and expenses account for about 7 or 8% of their donations with everything else going to disaster relief. I think that's a pretty darned good ratio.
So what is a ShelterBox? It's a sturdy plastic box (think like a Rubbermaid storage bin on steroids) that contains a unique 10 person tent, a stove (either multi-fuel or wood burning), a tool kit, water purification device, water storage containers, utensils, and weather-specific gear which might include cold weather supplies, ground mats, mosquito nets, etc... Although they have basic commonality, the boxes are custom loaded for each specific disaster location. There have been some situations where the location was only lacking shelter, so they just packed two tents to every box. After the Haiti earthquake, they included mosquito nets. For Japan, they've included blankets. The tent is a unique product developed by Vango especially for ShelterBox. It is designed for high winds, cold and rain and for up to 10 people. It even has privacy screens inside to divide up sleeping areas.
I'm very impressed by what I've seen of ShelterBox. I'm making a financial donation, and have emailed them offering a free advertising spot as a continuing donation.