ShelterBox was founded to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disasters around the world.
Before ShelterBox, aid response to most disasters was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath.
Little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.
In April 2000, the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England adopted ShelterBox as its millennium project. Little did they know that it would become the largest Rotary club project in the world, with affiliates in countries across the globe.
In 2002, ShelterBox's American affiliate was adopted as a project of the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota, Fla. In 2004, ShelterBox USA was officially established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The first consignment of 143 boxes
was sent to earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001. Over the next three years, the project matured, and by the end of 2004, nearly 2,600 boxes had been dispatched, following 16 major disasters. On December 26, 2004, news came of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami
and ShelterBox faced its most significant challenge, one that would change its course forever. Donations and volunteers poured in and ShelterBox was able to ramp up our operations on a scale unimaginable just six months earlier.
In 2005, ShelterBox sent out more than 22,000 boxes, almost 10 times the number delivered in the previous three years. Not only were we sending aid to survivors of the tsunami, but we were also able to help those who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina in the USA
and the massive earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan
. In just a few short months, ShelterBox had emerged as a major player in the field of international disaster relief.
We have continued to build on our experiences, helping as many people as we can, as quickly as we can, the moment disaster strikes.
We have now worked in more than 90 countries
, responding to earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes and conflict.