Big Green Box Week promotes disaster relief
Big Green Box Week promotes ShelterBox, the grassroots relief organization best known for its big green boxes delivered to disaster sites. Photo courtesy of ShelterBox
Tents and shelters will be popping up all over England and beyond in support of ShelterBox, as the organization founded by Rotarian Tom Henderson launches Big Green Box Week 18-25 May.
The week is designed to raise money and awareness for the grassroots relief organization, which is best known for its big green boxes delivered to disaster sites. The boxes contain a tent, blankets, water purification and cooking equipment, basic tools, and other necessities to help a family of 10 survive for six months.
ShelterBox is asking Rotarians to help promote the organization's disaster relief work by holding a dinner party, organizing an auction, or pitching a tent in their yards, among other ideas. A photo competition throughout the week will award prizes to the best picture in a variety of categories, including the most innovative shelter, unusual place to pitch a tent, or most people gathered in a tent.
Big Green Box Week coincides with the launch of ShelterBox's new partnership with the Scout Association, a move to expand the organization's reach and help it meet its goal of assisting 500,000 people a year by 2015. Supported by Rotary clubs around the world, ShelterBox has helped more than 800,000 people in 57 countries since its inception in 2000.
"In a lot of the disasters we get involved with, the Scouts are on the ground alongside our Rotary friends," said Henderson during a recent visit to RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. "They are a disciplined group of people who know about tents. They bring a calming influence to what we do.
"In Nakuru, Kenya, we put up a refugee camp in a sports field. Here we are nine months later, and Scouts are still in that camp," he added. "Every day, they get up and they go around and make sure those people are OK and that the tents are fine."
Rotarians have been a part of ShelterBox from the beginning. Henderson, a civil engineer and former search-and-rescue diver for the British Royal Navy, founded the organization with the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall, in 2000. Since then, more than 7,000 clubs have helped send boxes to disaster areas. Henderson will be a speaker at the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, 21-24 June.