One of Kimberley’s most recognizable volunteer faces is that of Graham Mann. Mann keeps himself busy with the Kimberley Community Development Society and Rotary, along with many other causes.
Mann has had extraordinary success in raising money for one cause — Rotary ShelterBox. Kimberley residents have been some of the highest donors per capita for this worthy project, with Mann keeping the need in the forefront of peoples’ minds as much as he can.
A ShelterBox is a tent containing everything needed to keep 10 people alive in a crisis, from bedding to cooking utensils to water purification equipment.
Rotary International has ShelterBox teams ready to roll any time a crisis appears — from earthquakes to flooding, to political situations — anything that displaces people. And when the Rotary International team rolls into a crisis area, Rotarians like Mann turn to their communities to ask for support.
Right now the crisis is Syria. As the civil war continues in that country, refugees are spilling over its borders into Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
Mann says one million people have now fled Syria.
“That’s the number of Syrian people waiting for conflict to end in their homeland,” he said. “It’s the number of people who no longer sleep under their own roofs, who may not know where they will sleep tonight. The number of people wondering when they can return home, that is, if their home is still standing when that time comes.
“One million is a grim milestone.”
Mann says ShelterBox first responded to the Syrian refugee crisis in October 2012, delivering nearly 500 boxes of emergency shelter and other lifesaving aid to families living at the Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Shortly after, ShelterBoxes were distributed across refugee camps in Jordan and to internally displaced families that remained within Syria’s borders.
In advance of the Lebanese government’s request for aid, ShelterBox was the first humanitarian aid agency to distribute tents in Lebanon, addressing the need for thermally insulated shelter in the harsh winter weather.
“The ShelterBox mission is to provide humanitarian aid in the form of equipment and materials that bring shelter, warmth and dignity to families made homeless by natural and other disasters,” said Mann. “The Syrian refugee crisis is an example of the other types of disasters to which we respond.
“By supporting ShelterBox, you provide more than shelter, warmth and dignity. You provide protection, comfort and a sense of normalcy to those who would otherwise be living in fear.
“Please consider donation now.”
There are three ways you can donate. Go online to www.shelterboxcanada.org, drop off your cheque payable the Kimberley Rotary Club at the Kootenay Savings Credit Union or put your donation in the ShelterBox Jar at Grubstake Pizza. All donations of $20 or more will receive a 2014 tax receipt. For more information contact Graham Mann 250-427-5057 or email him at gmann@shelterboxvolunteer,org.