Posted on September 27, 2017 | 12:11 p.m.
Westmont students turn out to volunteer for ShelterBox. (Arna Bajraktarević)
Santa Barbara-based international disaster relief organization ShelterBox USA netted more than $225,000 at its first local event, An Evening to Experience ShelterBox, held Sept. 21.
“We are inspired by the outpouring of support from our local community and their desire to provide shelter, dignity, and hope to families affected by crisis and disaster around the world,” said Kerri Murray, president of ShelterBox USA.
“For many of the guests, it was their first time learning about the organization. We are excited to welcome them to the ShelterBox family,” Murray said.
More than 250 people attended the free event, hosted at the home of supporter John McGovern in Summerland.
Singer songwriter Kenny Loggins, Eva Hermès, Carolyn Chandler, Joel Weiss, Justin Fareed, Roger Bower, Kerrilee Gore, Erin Spence, Wade Nomura and Diana Starr Langley were among those attending.
The evening featured interactive demonstrations with ShelterBox tents and equipment. ShelterBox Response Team members who have been deployed around the world were there to discuss how the aid makes a difference in the lives of people who have lost everything after a disaster.
ShelterBox provides shelter and life-saving supplies to communities overwhelmed by disaster, including people affected by the recent Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. They are actively evaluating needs in the Caribbean after Hurricane Maria and in Mexico following recent earthquakes.
ShelterBox is also providing aid to those displaced by disaster or conflict in Syria, Nepal, Iraq, Cameroon, Niger, Colombia and Somaliland.
The program was emceed by Catherine Remak, local radio personality and president of the Rotary Club of Goleta.
“ShelterBox has its roots with Rotary and it has grown into this incredible organization,” Remak said. “We are in unprecedented times in terms of natural disasters. This is such a hands-on, perfect way to help.”
ShelterBox is the official Project Partner of Rotary International in disaster relief. Rotarians are often the first point of contact for the ShelterBox Response Team when they arrive in a country that has been devastated by a disaster. They also help in fundraising and volunteer projects.
Yardi and The Yardi Foundation were recognized at the event with the Community Partner Award for their longtime support of ShelterBox. Yardi general counsel Arnold Brier accepted the award on behalf of Yardi and announced a $15,000 donation.
“We’re thrilled to support ShelterBox,” Brier said.
Since 2011, Yardi and the Yardi Foundation have donated more than $235,000 to ShelterBox emergency response efforts.
Donations received at the event were matched by longtime ShelterBox supporters, Mike and Joyce Murray of the Crystal Springs Foundation.
The event cost was largely underwritten by local companies that came out to support the nonprofit. Guests enjoyed handcrafted tacos donated by Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, tequila donated by Código 1530, and wine donated by Westerly.
The event was sponsored by Pacific Premier Bank, Montecito Bank and Trust, MarBorg Industries and Tri-Co Repographics.
To learn how to volunteer, fundraise, or to make a donation to ShelterBox USA, visit www.shelterboxusa.org or call 941-907-6036. Legacy giving and corporate giving options available. ShelterBox USA is a 4-Star rated charity by Charity Navigator and has Gold status from GuideStar.
— Hannah Rael for ShelterBox USA.