Allison Kingston is Community Fundraising Coordinator for ShelterBox Canada and a member of the Rotaract Club of Toronto. ShelterBox is an organization that is Rotary International’s first Project Partner and supplies emergency shelter for people in need around the world. Begun in 2000, by a U.K. Rotary club, it has expanded worldwide and has helped to house over 1.6 million people in 97 countries over the pasts 20 years. Currently, they estimate that over 104 million people are in need of emergency shelter, driven from their homes by conflict (e.g. Tigray in Ethiopia) or natural disaster (e.g. Super Typhoon Goni in the Philippines). For many who have landed in hugely overcrowded refugee camps (e.g. Nigeria) the coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the hardships.
ShelterBox as its name implies is a programme that provides both boxes and kits filled with tools, tents and such designed to help people rebuild their lives and provide safety and security should disaster occur. Each Box contains a domed tent, capable of sheltering 4-5 people in a water-proofed, double lined, UV protected structure. There are also cooking sets, solar lights, mosquito nets, water filters and simple building tools. The Kits contain tools, tarps, roofing, and ropes. Rotary and ShelterBox work on the ground with local volunteer teams and government agencies. There are criteria which determine when ShelterBox is appropriate and the organization must be invited by governments to help. 
Once the immediate need has been remediated, the shelter boxes and kits belong to the families and may be repurposed for other uses in the recovery. Allison gave several examples of boxes and contents being reused as sleeping compartments, gardens, even bee colonies.

As cited earlier, ShelterBox is at this moment assisting people in the Philippines and Honduras and monitoring the situation in Ethiopia/Sudan. This year over 40,000 Shelter Boxes have been deployed to support as many as 200,000 people.

There are a number of ways we can help. Please see for an “Action Toolkit”. There are various levels of donations that club could make (Bronze, Silver, Gold) and that an individual could also make. Today, especially, is a good day to donate as all donations will be matched up to $10,000 on “Giving Tuesday”.  Allison listed the following resources if members are inclined to follow up:
•    For your members who are interested in signing up for our newsletters, they can do so here:
•    Our Rotarian Action Tool kit is packed with tools, information and stories from the field:
•    We have a Rotarian Q&A panel coming up December 11 with one of our Response Team members doing a deep dive on our work in the Philippines that all of your interested members are welcome to attend. You can register here: