Today we heard from Bill Tobin about the ShelterBox organization. More below:
In attendance: Bill, Ken, Sharon, Braden, Denise, Ben, Steve, Mike, Omer, Walter, Sara.
Guest : Katharina Kelsey - Plymouth
Guest : Rotary El Dorado Hills California representing ShelterBox - Bill Tobin
Ben brought the meeting to order with the pledge, prayer and a song.
He thanked Katharina for joining us and Mike introduced his guest, Bill Tobin.
Bill explained how Shelterbox  was created 20 years ago by Rotary, but is now an independent program receiving no funds from the Rotary Foundation. Due to COVID, they have not celebrated their 20th anniversary this year, but Bill has been able to present over 135 Zoom meetings with their work.
Shelterbox now has several different products, tailored to the need. Shelter Kits include tents or tarps, mosquito netting if necessary, water filtration, solar lights, and blankets. They can be used as immediate shelter or to repair an existing shelter. They are designed to be temporary solutions after disasters or conflicts. The original plan was to support 10 to 12 families, and it has grown to be over 22,000 families. 
Their largest natural disaster response was in Haiti after an earthquake. 30% of their shelter goes to political conflict and refugees. The longest ongoing conflict program is in Syria, over 60,000 have been served there. The last domestic event was Hurricane Harvey, because the US has a variety of agencies that can help.
ShelterBox has received recognition for adding a layer of privacy to many deployments by setting up shelters within shelters for seclusion when breastfeeding, praying, 12 step programs etc. In 20 years they have served over 1.6 million.
Opportunities for any of us to volunteer exist. They have the ability to deploy during natural disasters and also have staging areas on hold for quick response. During the current COVID emergency, Shelterbox provides support in refugee camps by providing the ability to socially distance. By using local volunteers they can avoid the need for translators. They have been utilized to expand hospital beds for COVID outbreaks. COVID has taught them that they will always include wash stations to help prevent colds and flu as well as pandemics. New packages also include a winterization package for longer term use.  The depth of their impact has been documented by their being nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize. 
Ben asked about the weight of a box or kit, and they can run from 40 to 120 lbs. Katharina asked about the cost, which can run up to $1,000 for the full box, whereas the Tarp Kit can cover 10 families at that cost. Steve asked about the increments of funding and was told that by staging and pre positioning components on pallets as pre staging the cost can be better managed. This way they minimize giving items not deemed necessary.
Kits and Boxes come with ownership, recipients can sell, give or discard parts after use. Ben was told that recycling is not cost effective and recipients really do that themselves. The ropes included are also recycled by being unraveled to use for fishing nets. Ben asked about the basic planning and was told their Global Headquarters is in the UK. Most deployments are directed through agencies and not governments. Ben thanked Bill on everyone's behalf. 
Ken reported out on 3 topics:
  •       Volunteers are needed Thursday, tomorrow at 11 at Livermore Falls for signage. Please contact Ken directly.
  •       Plymouths' Got Talent. We were disappointed that no other members joined the Tuesday planning meeting. It is critical that all members are aware, trained and on board for this event, just like the Penny Sale. 
  •       He reminded members that there is no obligation this year to sell $100 worth of Grand Prize Tickets, so all members are encouraged to visit the website and sign on as a sponsor for the $100, as well as contacting everyone on their solicitation list.
  •       Ken re-invited everyone to join the next Tuesday meeting to get up to speed and trained on the new material. A discussion followed on how best to contact members to become involved, phone calls work best and will be handled by the committee. 
  •       Steve asked if everyone had access to One Drive, and reminded them they only need their section of the solicitation Excel Sheet. 
  •       Denise reminded us that not everyone has the tech-savvy ability to download and print out the package, and that we need to make it clear anyone can request their packet in paper format. 
  •       Sara reminded people that the committee is available to help answer any questions or concerns. 
  •       A huge Thank you to Sara for her incredible work on the documents , website, and operating system for the event. 
Respectfully submitted by: