EDITOR”S NOTE: Doug Metz is a reader/listener who’s story about ShelterBox is a great example of Scouters serving the wider community – he’ll be featured on Podcast 87 along with Mark Dyer Shelterbox Scout’s program director.
Last summer my son and I visited Fort AP Hill for the 2010 National Jamboree. One of the exhibits at the Jamboree featured a large white dome tent that looked like a prototype for future habitats on the moon. I soon learned the tents were not for space camping but were part of a disaster response effort called ShelterBox.
I was impressed with the mission and the quality and quantity of gear fit into the boxes they distribute to those in need after a natural disaster. Shelter Boxes provide shelter, warmth and dignity for up to 10 people by providing the essential equipment they need when displaced or homeless. The boxes reminded me of the patrol boxes our troop uses.
Each component in the box is designed for use in extreme circumstances. Each box includes a sturdy disaster relief tent, thermal blankets, insulated ground sheets, water purification gear, tools (hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters), a wood burning or multi-fuel stove, pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers. I was impressed that the designers included a children’s pack of drawing books, crayons and other supplies; certainly a treasured gift for children who may have lost everything they owned.
When the three-headed disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown hit Japan I was overwhelmed; I felt I needed to do more than stand by and watch. I became a volunteer ShelterBox ambassador charged with raising the awareness of our global disaster relief efforts.
Scouts from Haiti, Brazil, Guatemala, Republic of the Philippines, Kenya, Italy, Japan and the United States have assisted deploying ShelterBox when their home country was visited by disaster.