SRC helps Pakistani flood victims; more aid needed

One of the many Pakistani children displaced by summer flooding.

Persistent, devastating summer floods in Pakistan have prompted ShelterBox to make an emergency appeal for funds to aid those stricken.

SRC Rotary will be sending a $500 check, the latest in a years-long string of contributions, from combined funds of $331.85 from the club’s Clynk recycling program and the remainder from Rotarian Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox liaison. If you wish to add to that total, you can do it online.

Since June, torrential monsoon rains and floods have inundated large swathes of Pakistan, dumping up to five times the 30-year average rainfall and impacting at least 33 million people, according to the Pakistani government. 

More than 1,000 people — a third of them children– have died, and the death toll is expected to rise as flash flooding continues. Sp far, an estimated 200,000 homes have been swept away and another 450,000 have been damaged. Livestock, crops and orchards are gone, robbing families of their livelihoods.

“This is a calamity of biblical proportions,” UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil told the BBC World Service on Monday of this week. “It’s worse than the 2010-2011 floods, and it now has impacted all the provinces in the country.” 

Meanwhile, please make a point of continuing to participate in the Clynk recycling program. Bill has mailed out the necessary bar code stickers to a half-dozen club members as they requested this week.

To get involved, simply purchase green recycling bags — the only kind accepted by Clynk — at any Hannaford supermarket customer service counter, request the stickers from Bill, then just fill the bags with recyclable beverage containers and take them to a Hannaford. There, all you need to do is use the scanner gun to record the bar code and drop the bag in the chute. No sorting, rinsing, etc. required.

RI, ShelterBox renew partnership pact

• From Rotary International

HOUSTON, TX — Rotary International and the disaster relief charity ShelterBox today announced a three-year partnership renewal that will help the organization support more people, in more places, in more ways.

ShelterBox currently has teams working to support communities in Ukraine, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, the Philippines, Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nigeria. In addition, it maintains equipment depots around the globe to enable it to quickly respond to disasters.

ShelterBox was founded by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England, in 2000, forming a special humanitarian alliance that has made a tangible difference to the lives of people around the world. Based in the U.K. and with offices around the world — including a United States division — ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items to people who have lost their homes to conflict and disaster.

With growing collaboration with Rotary members and clubs across the globe, ShelterBox became Rotary’s official project partner in disaster relief in 2012. The partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognized disaster relief charity, together supporting more families when they need it most.

“Rotary has been beside us on our journey from day one and we are reminded of the significance of the partnership each time we mobilize,” said ShelterBox Chief Executive Sanj Srikanthan. “What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club has led to an extraordinary international movement that has provided emergency shelter to millions of people around the world.”

The official partnership has been renewed for another three years. The agreement will be announced at the annual Rotary International Convention, this year hosted in Houston, where Srikanthan will give a keynote speech to more than 10,000 Rotary members attending the event.

“Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members. Our responses can stretch us logistically and often it’s the Rotary network that help us navigate the import challenges that delay our lifesaving aid or provide us with warehousing space while we wait to distribute shelter kits,” Srikanthan added. “Rotary members also help ShelterBox response teams make vital community contacts and reach disaster-affected families in remote areas who might otherwise go without.”

Most recently, in addition to their own significant response to the Ukraine crisis, Rotary members have supported ShelterBox’s relief effort. Using their networks in Poland, Moldova, and Ukraine, Rotary members have provided invaluable situational awareness and connections enabling ShelterBox to provide aid to those in need.

The charity is providing mattresses to people in collective centers, tarpaulins, rope, tools, and other essentials to help people living in damaged buildings; in addition to supporting women and children fleeing Ukraine into neighboring Moldova.

The Rotary partnership often gives ShelterBox the flexibility and scale to respond in fast changing emergencies, including in the Philippines after Typhoon Rai made landfall last December.

The Philippines is ravaged so often by tropical storms that ShelterBox has adapted the way it works — pre-positioning aid in the country with a team on the ground ready to go when the next disaster strikes. With the help of the Rotary Club of Cebu, ShelterBox provided emergency shelter aid to 100,000 people in the aftermath of the super typhoon.

“Rotary is a global network whose members make a lasting difference in their communities – and worldwide. We are people of action, which is why our disaster relief partnership extends far beyond financial support,” said Rotary International General Secretary and CEO John Hewko. “Rotary clubs worldwide offer valuable, practical assistance to help ShelterBox reach more families fleeing disaster or conflict.”

Hewko added: “In Haiti last year, the Rotary Club of Les Cayes provided situational updates and helped ShelterBox understand local context so they could start work sooner. In Honduras, the Rotary Club of San Pedro Sula, helped to find the communities where ShelterBox could make the biggest difference following Hurricanes Iota and Eta. They unloaded shipping containers, travelled to remote communities to distribute aid, and delivered shelter training.”

ShelterBox has a global network of 14 offices worldwide that evolved from Rotary relationships. ShelterBox USA is based in Santa Barbara, CA.

“Rotary and ShelterBox will continue to collaborate, better supporting communities in need by improving preparedness, and prepositioning aid in areas prone to disaster,” Hewko said.

The renewal of the partnership comes at a decisive time against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on communities worldwide. But, that crisis will be dwarfed by the impact of a changing climate in the years ahead, with ShelterBox research highlighting how 167 million homes could be lost to climate change in the next 20 years. 

Flooding will be a leading cause of weather-related disaster, warming oceans will bring heavier rain to places that can’t cope with it, and other parts of the world will face ever more deadly droughts like the one East Africa is currently confronting.

To better meet the needs of the people who need support, ShelterBox is continuously evolving to find durable solutions. It no longer provides aid only in boxes, instead providing combinations of aid, packaged in a variety of ways to make a tangible difference.

A tarpaulin is the difference between a family staying dry in their makeshift home or not. Solar lights help families spend time together when electricity supply is impacted. A mosquito net helps families worry less about their children’s health in areas known to have malaria or dengue fever. Cash empowers local communities to hire skilled labour or buy the materials they need to rebuild their houses.

More information about ShelterBox is available online.

Why ShelterBox needs you right now

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Any Rotarian who is not familiar with ShelterBox hasn’t been paying attention.

Luckily, members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club have paid attention in a big way. In the past decade, the club and its individual members have contributed more than $25,000 to support ShelterBox’s global emergency services to people hit by tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, revolutions, and other insurrections.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished. ShelterBox needs you now more than ever. 

Weather-related emergencies in Haiti and the Philippines and Africa, civil war casualties in Yemen, and now the horrors of the Russian invasion in Ukraine have been added to the seemingly endless stream of emergencies worldwide. What to do? You supply the funds, ShelterBox supplies the first-strike aid — getting there long before governmental entities are able to grind through the red tape to do so.

SRC already had donated hundreds of dollars in the 2021-22 Rotary Year to ShelterBox, and will continue to do so through the Clynk recycling program we are involved in as a steady stream of modest but regular support. However, we now are asking for your individual generous donations to ramp up support during this particularly trying period.

Each ShelterBox — as described by District 7190 ShelterBox liaison Larry Jones at a recent SRC meeting and as found on our club website — costs $1,000, and is tailored to the geographic and cultural needs of the hard-hit areas with a tent habitat, tools, solar lights, water purification items, etc. 
We’re hoping to buy several boxes in addition to those we already have paid for. And, the process is simple — and tax deductible.

All you have to do to make your deductible donation is:

• Write a check in any amount — from $5 to the full $1,000, and anything large or small in between — made payable to “ShelterBox USA.”

• In the memo line, enter “Southern Rensselaer County Club #4919.”

• Give the check to Bill Dowd, SRC’s ShelterBox liaison, who will collate SRC funds and get your contribution to the right people.

You eventually will be informed where your donation went as part of ShelterBox’s global efforts. In any case, your contribution is deductible.

So, we thank you for your consideration, and hope you will respond in a timely fashion since, as we tell incoming Rotarians, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

ShelterBox donations on Tuesday get 100% match

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ShelterBox volunteers set up this emergency village in Peru after landslides.

Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo, but it also is “Giving Tuesday” for many charity and public service groups around the world.

One of the participating organizations is ShelterBox, which will match 100% of dollars donated by individuals and groups. up to $20,000. So, any donations you make will have a double impact on that day only. And, 100% of what you donate is tax deductible.

As the Rotary-affiliated organization says in a news release: “ShelterBox is a charity that delivers practical emergency aid to families who have lost everything because of natural disaster or conflict. We aim to provide safe shelter as quickly as possible, and the tools that will help communities to rebuild.

“Our global network of supporters, staff and volunteers make it possible to deliver aid to some of the most remote communities in the world. Most recently, we’ve been delivering tents, mosquito nets and water filters to Indonesia, in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami at the beginning of October.

” ‘Giving Tuesday’ is a moment of conscience and celebration that brings fundraisers together. ShelterBox is a very family-focused organization, so we love the idea of becoming part of a global tribe of charities, all visibly working together on the same day.”

SRC traditionally is a strong financial supporter of ShelterBox. So, if you would like to help maintain that practice at any level of donation, just do it on Tuesday by going to the ShelterBox website and clicking on “DONATE” in the upper right corner.

ShelterBox’s rating by Charity Navigator, an organization that analyzes the trustworthiness of charitable organizations:

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How are we doing with our Clynk project?

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ShelterBox to the rescue.

At just a nickel or so per container, it takes what seems a loooong while to accumulate sizeable dollar amounts for our ongoing ShelterBox financial support project. But, that doesn’t mean we’re not making progress. We are, slowly but steadily.

SRC already has raised more than $400 from collecting reclaimed deposits on glass, plastic, and aluminum beverage containers this year, plus $2,050 in member-and-friend pledges collected by our ShelterBox coordinator, Bill Dowd. And, for every package of free market coffee sold by Phil Kellerman during the holidays, we get another $5.

Pennies make dollars, and the citizens of the world who are victims of natural and man-made disasters such as floods, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes, civil war, and the like are helped by SRC’s support of ShelterBox’s international aid efforts.

If you can help with any dollar amount small or large, please let Bill known ASAP. And, thank you all for your generosity and humanity. Each cumulative $1,000 we raise pays for one ShelterBox that contains a tent housing up to 10 people — sometimes for several years each, water purification items, emergency tools, cooking equipment, first-aid kits, sleeping bags or cots, and other basic life-sustaining items.

For more information about ShelterBox, click here and be inspired.

Here’s where ShelterBox is providing ongoing aid

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ShelterBox’s continually shifting emergency aid operations continue as one disaster after another hits around the globe.

The organization not only arrives as a temporary help in areas hit by tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, and the like, it works in a number of areas on an ongoing basis. Here is the latest of its periodic reports on the latter:


Monsoon Flooding: Since July 7, heavy monsoon rains have triggered flooding in low lying areas of Bangladesh, leaving one-third of the country under water. Four distributions have been carried out, sheltering 745 families this year so far. ShelterBox has responded to Bangladesh five different times for flooding and/or displaced populations. We’ve sheltered more than 9,100 families here.


Conflict: ShelterBox has been responding to Syria since 2012. We’ve helped shelter more than 50,000 families, and we now are preparing winterized distributions.


Conflict: Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes because of violent conflicts and climate change. ShelterBox has responded to Ethiopia three times due to complex emergencies, sheltering more than 3,500 families.


Drought: Severe drought is devastating thousands of families in Somaliland. The drought has killed up to 80% of the region’s livestock, forcing families who rely on farming them to leave their homes in search of basic services and alternative livelihoods. ShelterBox has sheltered more than 4,000 families since 2017.

• LAKE CHAD BASIN (Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon)

Terrorism: The violent rise of the insurgent terrorist group Boko Haram began in Nigeria in 2009.  Since then, 2.4 million families have fled their homes.  ShelterBox has sheltered more than 11,000 families since 2015.

ShelterBox in action in Bahamas, elsewhere

Here’s the latest activity report from ShelterBox regarding Hurricane Dorian and the resulting confusion in the aftermath of such a devastating occurence, and other disasters around the globe.

“It’s looking increasingly likely that we will be supporting families in the Bahamas with aid such as tarpaulins and shelter kits.

T”he team still is working hard to clarify where the gaps are and understand who needs help, where those families are, and what kind of support is most needed. This includes traveling to the worst-affected areas and coordinating with other organizations.

“Understanding the number of people who need help and being sure about where they located is a complex task. With so many organizations working to help people in the Bahamas, damaged infrastructure and crowded ports, it is taking time to ensure that we make the right decisions and are able to help people in the best way possible for their future recovery.

“As well as a team in the Bahamas, we also are active right now in Bangladesh, Paraguay, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Syria, and across the Lake Chad Basin in Africa.

“While we are not accepting designated donations for Hurricane Dorian at this time, we are asking Clubs to support ShelterBox generally.  Contributions allow us to respond rapidly when disasters strike.”



How our Clynk recycling account works

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.09.50 PMSRC now has a registered account with Clynk, the recycling company that partners with Hannaford to handle glass, plastic, and aluminum drink containers.

All refunds from container deposit fees that are redeemed through this account will go to SRC as part of our ShelterBox support efforts. There is no charge to individual club members using the service.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 — Place all containers on which you have paid a deposit in one of the Clynk bags provided by the club. (No other types of bags may be used.) No need to sort them.

Step 2 — Affix a barcode sticker to the bag where indicated.

Step 3 — Take the bag to a Hannaford supermarket container-return area, use the hand-held scanner there to read the barcode, and drop the bag in the space provided.

That’s it. It can’t get much simpler.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ) :

Q: Where can I get the Clynk bags and barcode stickers for the SRC account?

A: Bill Dowd is our liaison with Clynk and will obtain them for club members. Initially, he will be distributing only a limited number of bags until we ascertain the level of participation by SRC members. Hopefully, he will have to quickly increase the number distributed if member participation is strong.

Q: I already have a Clynk account. Can I still use it but have my refunds go to SRC?

A: No. We initially thought that was possible, but Clynk now tells us that option is available only to high-volume major fundraising organizations, which we are not. Of course, you can simply stop using your own account and begin using the SRC account to participate in our fundraising effort. Just be sure you have the correct barcode sticker.

Q: Can I include non-deposit containers in what I drop off?

A: Yes, although of course there is no monetary benefit to SRC.

Q: Do containers have to be rinsed out and any screw tops removed?

A: No and no.

Q: Can I use any type of recycling bags?

A: No. Clynk accepts only its own, which are 100% recyclable.

Q: What happens if I forget to tag and scan a bag of containers?

A: Our account gets no money for that particular bag.

 Q: How long will this in initiative go on?

A: As long as Clynk and Hannaford offer the service.

ShelterBox responders active throughout Caribbean

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Rotarians from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands move ShelterBox equipment.

After winding along their destructive routes through the Caribbean, a series of devastating Category 5 hurricanes finally has relented. In their aftermath, flooding and destructive storm surges have laid waste to virtually every island.

While President Trump’s visit today to Puerto Rico is garnering virtually all the news media attention in the region because U.S. aid efforts are concentrated on PR and the American Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John), relief efforts quietly but effectively continue throughout the Caribbean.

According to ShelterBox officials, for example, hundreds of sets of tents and ShelterKits have been distributed from an operations base on Antigua to the islands of St. Kitts, St. Barts, Barbuda, Dominica, St. Martin, the Dominican Republic,  the British Virgin Islands, and elsewhere.

“We have a variety of aid in the Caribbean, so we can tailor our response to best support different communities,” ShelterBox says. “On some islands, there will be the natural resources available to quickly rebuild homes with the help of a ShelterKit. Elsewhere, our tents will be the best option, creating a warm, safe home while the long clean-up process takes place.

“But, it’s not just the Caribbean that has been affected by extreme weather. Torrential flooding in places like Bangladesh, and quakes, high winds and other natural disasters in various parts of Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, have left communities in urgent need of aid.

“Our teams are on the ground in both countries now, but the need is overwhelming. We’re impatient to respond wherever we’re needed in the world, but we need your help.”

Any members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club who are interested in donating to ShelterBox’s general fund to support its disaster relief work is asked to contact Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox Liaison Officer, for details on how to do so.