The concept of helping people isn’t a new one for Marjolein Lloyd.
She grew up in a Rotarian family and is now the club administrator for Rotary Club of Westbank. Rotary International’s slogan—service above self—is one that Lloyd has taken to heart.
Since 2009, Lloyd has been an ambassador for ShelterBox Canada, an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter to people all over the world who have been affected by disaster.
“The whole concept of the visual impact of the ShelterBox itself and what this project actually provides is what keyed me in the most,” said Lloyd.
While the contents of each box vary, depending on location of deployment; most of them include thermal blankets, insulated sheets, mosquito nets, an axe, a saw, a trenching shovel, pliers, a multi-fuel stove, pots and pans, utensils, children’s drawing materials and, of course, a shelter.
The shelter is a large tent with the capacity to house a family of 10 people. It is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall.
The shelters will protect families and extended families, but ShelterBox Canada won’t put two different families in the same tent.
Lloyd, who often visits various Rotary groups to display the ShelterBox, said that people are always amazed by the size of the tent.
“Once they walk through the tent, they say, ‘I wish I had a tent like this for my own camping,’” said Lloyd.
“I usually have all of the equipment, which is included in the box, outside with the box sitting under the table. They usually say, ‘How does all of that fit in that box?’”
The boxes cost $1,000 Cdn each, are tax deductible and those who want to donate can pay a portion of the total cost. The boxes are delivered by the ShelterBox Response Team.
The response teams don’t simply drop the boxes off and leave. They ensure that the boxes are delivered to those who need them the most, and assist with setting up and demonstrating how to use the equipment.
The job of the response team isn’t an easy one. Often they are required to make tough decisions under pressure and, at times, in a volatile environment.
“It’s a really difficult thing to do because when there’s a hurricane or a tsunami, and everybody has lost everything, how do you choose? They start with families who have young children, elderly people or people that (are unable to help themselves).”
Lloyd said that she isn’t currently looking to join the response team; however, it’s not something that she’d rule out in the future.
“As a mother of two young children and a business owner, it’s not something I could realistically do, but it’s certainly something that I could look into later,” she said.
So far, ShelterBox Canada has sent out 107,470 boxes. Lloyd attributes a few things to this impressive number.
“You can see it, you can touch it, you know where your money is going.”
A tracking number on every box allows people to see directly where their donation has gone.
According to Lloyd, about half of the funding for all ShelterBoxes has come from Rotary and its members.
“Rotary clubs in the Kelowna area have donated about 75 boxes over the last five years.”
Although Lloyd’s Rotary Club of Westbank has fewer than 35 members, she says they have been incredibly generous to the ShelterBox mission.
“When the earthquakes hit Haiti last year, we had contributed funds and fundraised for eight boxes. There are a lot of little things that clubs can do and it really adds up.”
If you would like to donate towards a ShelterBox, or if you want more information on the charity, visit www.shelterboxcanada.org.