ShelterBox USA finished the year with a massive $1.5 million donation from an anonymous California donor, which director Kerri Murray said will go a long way in helping the 88 million refugees across the globe displaced by disaster and war. “There is an urgent need for ShelterBox,” she said, “as we work to provide emergency shelter and essential household supplies to families that have lost everything in crisis situations.”
The relief organization is an affiliate of ShelterBox Trust in England and operates out of an office in Summerland. It was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and 2019 for its efforts in Syria, in the Lake Chad Basin, and during the Rohingya crisis. After the 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito, it distributed supplies out of the Vons parking lot.
“As a privately funded charitable organization, ShelterBox relies on the support of generous individuals to fulfill the mission,” said Murray. “So often, people give to a disaster relief organization when a massive emergency is dominating the news headlines; however, we are responding every single day of the year.”
The organization also just launched its Sell a House, Give a Home program aimed at the real estate industry and thought up by agent Brian Fox out of Orange County. For every home sold by a participating agent, ShelterBox will supply a tent and supplies to a family in need. It’s the first initiative of its kind anywhere in the world, and ShelterBox is hoping Santa Barbara’s deep ranks of agents will jump on board.
Fox, who credited Murray for helping him implement the idea, said he was moved to support ShelterBox because of its simple but critical mission. “Big business and nonprofits are not enemies,” he said. “We are symbiotic. We should exist and work a lot more closely than we do.”
ShelterBox is an official project partner of Rotary International. Tax-deductible donations to the organization can be made at shelterboxusa.org or by calling (941) 907-6036.