Rotary Club spending night in Shelterbox

 Melfort Journal Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2:11:39 CST PM
Published with permission of the Melfort Journal
The Melfort Memorial garden is not a campsite, but members of the Melfort Rotary Club will be camped out there all day tomorrow (Aug. 24) and overnight raising funds for Shelter Boxes.

"We knew there was a Shelter box available for promotional purposes within our Rotary district and we thought, because of the urgency, this would be a good way to really draw attention to the fact that help is needed so we will concentrate on these two days," said Gailmarie Anderson with the Melfort Rotary Club.

The club is also hosting a barbecue lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 25.

Both events are fundraisers in response to the drought situation in East Africa.

Anderson said there has been a drought situation in east Africa for many years and every now and then it worsens.

"Right now there is a major flow of refugees to refugee camps in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. They are estimating about 400,000 people have been affected and lost their homes so there is a massive need for shelter, water and food and all of the humanitarian aid agencies are trying to respond," she said.

The funds raised by spending the night at the Memorial Garden and the barbecue will go towards the purchasing of Shelter Boxes to send to East Africa.

"People can donate any amount they want to. One shelter box costs $1,000. but you can donate $5, $10, $100 whatever and it will all be accumulated," Anderson said.

Whatever is donated is being matched dollar for dollar by the federal government according to Anderson.

This will be matched for a few more weeks.

"The Canadian government is responding and has sent money and aid but they are now saying that any donations made before Sept. 16 will be matched dollar for dollar."

A Shelter Box is a large plastic bin with a lid that contains a variety of items including a tent big enough to hold a family of 10 people.

"It is a big tent, it has a divider because in some countries the men and women have to separated or there is extended families living in them."

The boxes also contain a water purification kit, cooing utensils, they have tools, blankets, even some toys for children.

"Basically it has everything you would need to start over."

The club is not only taking donations during their stay at the Memorial Garden, but anytime.

Donations can be made through any Rotary member or by calling Anderson at 752-5870, Virginia Haahr at 752-5077 or Brian Cocks at 752-3760.

Tax receipts for donations will be available at the tent.