ShelterBox, now a renowned global disaster aid organization, began in 2000 as an idea with the Rotary Club of Helston, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom.
Today, it regularly serves thousands and thousands of people in dozens of countries who have been hit with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, avalanches, mudslides, cyclones, displacement because of warfare and terrorism, and other disasters.
To maintain the pace of aid requires money. Our own Southern Rensselaer County club is a “Silver Level Hero” award holder from ShelterBox USA (click here to see the award). Many individuals contribute to the cause, and many others around the world find ways to become involved in a variety of fundraisers that raise funds to support the organization. But, that doesn’t mean the folks in ShelterBox’s home area have relaxed and left the work to others elsewhere.
Recently, for example, a group of about 70 enthusiastic university students and others ran, swam, cycled, and kayaked around the Cornish coastline in the latest local effort, an epic 230-mile relay called “Rally 4 ShelterBox 2017.” It was a relay split into 23 grueling legs covered over a weekend — running swimming, kayaking and cycling. For a touch of fun, the “baton” passed from leg to leg was a bottle of local beer.
Jake Dowling, FXU Geography Society president and event coordinator, called the effort “a weekend like no other, a chance to see amazing people pushed to their limits all for ShelterBox.”
The relay raised £3,000 (about $3,200 US) for ShelterBox. While the total was not an astounding amount, the event served to expand the public’s awareness of ShelterBox and its humanitarian work, something that no doubt will help raise even more funds in the future.
Natural and man-made disasters never stop, and ShelterBox has no plans to stop either.