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South Coast Based Non-Profit Helped 220,000 Plus People Globally With Emergency Shelter In 2020

(KCLU photo)
ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray with one of the solar lamps in the ShelterBox kits. The kits contain the basics for those who have lost everything.

But, ShelterBox USA needs some help itself after trying to meet record demand

It’s a South Coast based non-profit which is changing lives around the world. For more than two decades ShelterBox USA has been stepping up to help people who have lost everything due to natural disasters or human conflict.

The heart of what ShelterBox does is its tents. At first glance, they look like traditional camping tents. But, they are specially designed to serve as emergency shelters, with features like internal drop-down partitions to give people inside some privacy.

While the concept started with shelter, in the form of a tent coming in a big plastic box, it’s actually a kit containing the basics for those who have lost everything. There are pots, pans, solar power lamps, water purification devices, tools and blankets.

ShelterBox served more than 220,000 people around the world last year, the largest number in its history. Murray says in 2020 they helped people, in more than a dozen countries, deal with everything from the impacts of hurricanes to the effects of civil war. Those countries include India, Honduras, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Syria.

(ShelterBox photo)
ShelterBox helping families in Syria

While ShelterBox is based in Santa Barbara, it sends out aid from strategically placed facilities around the world. It has major operational centers in Great Britain and Florida, with supplies staged at warehouses near key problem areas.

ShelterBox isn’t government funded. It relies on money from foundations and grants, as well as individual donations. It also gets financial support and volunteers from Rotary International.

It’s just launched its “Stock The Box” campaign, where you can basically go shopping online for an entire, or part of, a ShelterBox kit.

Kerry Murray is President of ShelterBox USA. She says while they are proud to have served the largest number of people in the organization's history last year, the sad thing is it isn’t enough. She notes there are an estimated 114 million displaced people in the world right now, with 75% of them being women and children. She says they have to say no to requests for aid ever day, because they simply don't have the resources to do more.

You can check out ShelterBox’s “Stock The Box” campaign by going to ShelterBoxUSA.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.