11/14/13 meeting: $10,000 for ShelterBoxes

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush

Attending (15): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Rob Mangold, A.J. Amato,  Stewart Wagner, Charlie Foote, Mark Hoyt, Len Leonidas.

Guests: None.


Program: ShelterBoxes In a Turbulent World


Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 9.52.30 AM

Bill Dowd made a PowerPoint presentation on the ShelterBox program in connection with the recent disaster in the Philippines where Typhoon Halyan (Yolanda) killed thousands and left a wide swath of utter destruction of homes, businesses, communication networks and emergency services.

The Philippines disaster is only the latest place where these boxes are needed and appreciated. In recent years, the ShelterBox emergency equipment program has aided disaster victims in such diverse spots as Haiti, China, Oklahoma and Indonesia.

Bill showed photos of the stunning devastation, as well as a map from the Japanese Meteorological Agency that depicted the path of the typhoon. Len Leonidas, whose parents live in the Philippines, showed where his parents live and why they escaped being hit hard.

While there are many avenues to contribute to aid for the Philippines, one of the most direct and rapid is through underwriting of ShelterBoxes.

Bill explained exactly what ShelterBox is, who runs it, and what the box contains: a tent capable of housing 10 people, water purification kits, emergency first-aid supplies, basic tools and utensils and so on.

The organization was begun in the UK a little more than a decade ago as a non-Rotary program, but created and run by Rotarians. Last year, it signed a “project partner” agreement with Rotary International, giving it quasi-Rotary status.

Green ShelterBoxes being air-dropped and distributed.
Green ShelterBoxes being air-dropped and distributed.

Bill noted that the SRC club had underwritten five ShelterBoxes several years ago.

Speaking on behalf of President April, he asked for club support to underwrite several more right now because of the Philippines disaster.

To get things rolling, he said he and April would donate $1,000 to pay for the first box, and asked that the club itself underwrite two boxes.

That was the catalyst for an outpouring of individual generosity. Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Stewart Wagner, A.J. Amato and Rommel Tolentino (who was not at the meeting but later joined in support) pledged to each underwrite a box, and other box purchases were shared by Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Len Leonidas, Rob Mangold and Peter and Debbie Brown.

The grand total: $10,000 raised in a matter of minutes to underwrite 10 ShelterBoxes!

Indonesian disaster victims transport ShelterBoxes from a distribution center.
Indonesian disaster victims carry ShelterBoxes from a distribution center.

Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 10.09.47 AMAS A SUBSET to his presentation, Bill updated us on the global polio situation.

The latest problem is in Syria, where polio has been found and where the highly-contagious disease may be carried across borders by refugees from the Syrian civil war.

He showed a map of the major areas where polio is either endemic — Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — or there are current outbreaks — Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

He stressed the need for ongoing support of RI’s PolioPlus program because polio can never be cured, only prevented through a rigorous vaccination program.


Announcements/Business:

• Bill, presiding in President April’s absence, reminded members that we are continuing to collect “Pocket Change for Autism” and non-perishable foods for our “Cans In a Box” project.

• Five SRC club members will attend “Anchors Aweigh,” the Rotary Foundation dinner, on November 20 in Scotia.

• Our annual Holiday Party will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 19, at Peter and Debbie’s residence. Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town will cater the event. Members are asked to contribute a themed gift basket, in the $25 range, for our annual silent auction at the dinner. Proceeds will go to the club treasury.


NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, November 21, at Quigley’s restaurant. The program will be Robin Merrill and Hydee Yonkers of Take Shape for Life.


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