ShelterBox was founded in 2000 by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall, UK. Since then, the organization has delivered some 50,000 boxes to more than 75 disasters in over 50 countries, including the U.S. While most relief organizations focus on the immediate needs of disaster victims, ShelterBox believes that recovery from disaster begins and continues with adequate shelter and other daily essentials. The organization has developed a tough, green plastic box containing a 10-person tent and other equipment designed to enable a family of up to 10 people to survive for at least six months. In addition to a tent, the boxes – weighing more than 100 pounds – contain water containers, mosquito nets, thermal blankets, a multi-fuel stove, cooking pots and eating utensils, water purification tablets, tools and even school supplies. Each box costs $1,000 and is sponsored by service organizations such as the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club. The box is given free to disaster-effected families and can be customized for the site’s climate, whether winter or summer.
ShelterBox has been one of the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club’s key projects since the aid organization was brought to the club’s attention by club member Dr. Jim Hicks in 2007. Each week, the club takes donations for ShelterBox with the goal of raising the necessary $1,000 to sponsor as many boxes as possible in a year. During the Lacquey’s visit, the club was pleased to present them with a check for $2,000, which will cover the cost of the club’s 17th and 18th boxes. As she accepted the check, Trannie Lacquey said, “These boxes will help give back a small part of their world to people whose lives have been devastated by disaster. But, more than that, you’re giving them back their dignity and hope for the future.”