Over the last month, we have all seen news reports of the devastation suffered in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean (particularly Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) from hurricanes, as well as a major earthquake in Mexico.  No doubt, many of you have friends and family who were affected by these tragic events.  Receiving less news coverage, but equally horrific is the flooding in Bangladesh where one-third of the country was underwater in mid-September.
Many of you have asked how our club can best help those affected by these natural disasters.  At last week’s board of directors meeting, it was decided that Emmaus Rotary would focus its assistance efforts through support of ShelterBox.
ShelterBox operates in partnership with Rotary International to assist people who have lost their homes due to conflict and natural disaster.  They supply aid in the form of ShelterBoxes which are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life.  Each contains a family-sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space in which people can start to recover from physical and emotional trauma.  The contents differ depending on the disaster and the climate, but items such as solar lights, water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets and cooking utensils help start the process of creating a home.  The cost of each ShelterBox is $1,000.
At this week’s Club Assembly, I will ask each of you to consider how you can Make A Difference by contributing to ShelterBox.  Each year, Emmaus Rotary budgets $1,000 to support ShelterBox.  In years when revenue has exceeded expectations, we have doubled this amount.  Rotary District 7430 recently announced that it will donate funds for one ShelterBox for every $5,000 contributed by individual Rotarians, Rotary Clubs, Interact Clubs, or Rotaract Clubs within the District between August 25, 2017 and December 1, 2017 (up to a maximum of five).   I am hopeful we will be able to leverage our collective generosity to generate at least one District match.
To learn more about ShelterBox, go to http://www.shelterboxusa.org/
Yours in Rotary,