ShelterBox and Port Richey Rotary join forces
PORT RICHEY - Giving back to our community is a goal many people strive to reach but have trouble achieving.One group with this goal in mind, ShelterBox, has joined forces with the Port Richey Rotary Club to gain support to provide shelter, warmth, and comfort to areas all over the world who suffer from natural disasters.Port Richey Rotary President Damien D'Ascenzio wanted to get involved in ShelterBox because he knew the Rotarians would always jump at the chance to help those in need. Last Friday, the Port Richey club heard Rotarian Michael Mira, a volunteer ShelterBox Ambassador, give a presentation on the group. ShelterBox started in 2000, is a Rotary offshoot that has branched out into a separate entity. Its organizers were looking to provide an alternative to the food and medicine traditionally donated to disaster victims, Mira saidIts first major disaster relief project came in December 2004, when ShelterBoxes were sent to help victims of the deadly Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Its largest shipment to date, 28,417 boxes and 8,000 tents, went to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.ShelterBoxes come stocked with supplies that will enable both shelter and comfort. Products include a disaster relief tent, sheets and blankets, tools such as an ax, saw and hammer, children's activity packs with coloring supplies, a water purifier and cooking supplies like pots and pans.ShelterBox has shipped more than 122,000 boxes and response to approximately 28 disasters per year. There are 14 ShelterBox locations all over the world. The main location is in Cornwall, England. There have been four deployments to U.S. natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and Tornadoes in Arkansas and Oklahoma.ShelterBoxes' current emphasis is the 2-year-old anti-government uprising in Syria, which, according to UN estimates, has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives and created nearly 2 million refugees.