A team of volunteers from the northern Washington area were among the top fundraisers in 2009-2010 securing shelter and life-saving equipment for more than 361 families displaced by a disaster – placing this team as the leading team in North America and one of the top five teams in the world.
The team consists of four people. Representatives Jim Pickett, Eric Zawilski and ShelterBox Response Team Members Tom Schaafsma and Scott Robinson have taken the ShelterBox message well beyond their home Rotary District.
“At a Rotary Club meeting in January shortly after the Haiti earthquake, my Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club in Sequim, Washington, passed the hat to raise funds to sponsor boxes,” said Pickett said. “We raised more than $18,000 that day and another $15,000 shortly after that. It was amazing.”
With the help of this team ShelterBox has become the largest Rotary Club project in the world and the only aid organization to immediately address the need for dignified shelter following a disaster.
In the last ten years, ShelterBox has firmly established itself at the forefront of international disaster relief, providing aid to survivors of over 140 disasters in more than 70 countries. In the last few months alone, ShelterBox has distributed aid to more than a quarter of a million people displaced after the Haiti earthquake which devastated the island nation. Concurrent to the Haiti response, ShelterBox has responded to 13 other disasters since January 2010 including the Pakistan and Brazil flooding, earthquakes in Chile and Mexico and a volcano eruption in Guatemala.
The charity sends aid in the form of iconic green ShelterBoxes which contain equipment essential to survival such as a family tent, mosquito nets, cooking equipment, water purification tools and a tool set among other items.
Pickett said he was lucky to have such a supportive district and a hardworking team of ShelterBox Response Team members to help out.
“When Scott or Tom get sent to places like Haiti or Guatamala,” said Pickett said. "They bring back fantastic stories of what ShelterBox is doing in the field and gets the district even more pumped up.”
Pickett and his team have long been among the top fundraisers for ShelterBox USA. For the past two years, Pickett and his team were the top fundraisers in the nation for ShelterBox USA. Executive Director for ShelterBox USA, Veronica Brandon Miller said she was proud to have one of the top 5 fundraising teams in the world right here in the USA.
“It is through the work of individuals and teams such as this that ShelterBox is able to maintain a stock of boxes enabling them to respond to disaster immediately after it strikes,” said Miller. “ShelterBox extends its sincere thanks to these individuals for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to this project."
Individual tax-deductible donations to ShelterBox USA can be made at www.shelterboxusa.org or via text message by sending SHELTER to 20222 for a one-time $10 donation. For information or to make a contribution by phone, please call 941-907-6036.
Since its inception in 2000, ShelterBox (www.shelterboxusa.org) has provided shelter and dignity following over 140 disasters in more than 70 countries. ShelterBox instantly responds to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict by delivering boxes of aid.
Each iconic green box contains a family tent, means to purify water and cook food, tools and other essentials. The contents are tailored depending on the nature and location of the disaster. Highly trained ShelterBox Response Teams distribute boxes on the ground, working closely with local organizations, international aid agencies and Rotary clubs worldwide.