Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, consider an alternative to buying more ‘stuff’ for the family, friends, clients, and business associates on your gift list. Don’t get me wrong; I like stuff just as much as anyone. However, I am called this year to opt out of materials gifts, and instead, share the gift of shelter and recovery for a family in the Philippines.
The holidays are a wonderful time to remember all the abundance in our lives, and extend our help to those in need. How would it feel for your family and friends to receive a holiday card letting them know a donation has been made, in their name, to help rebuild homes and lives?
ShelterBox is an organization that is especially effective immediately following a disaster. A ShelterBox is filled with many of the components necessary for life – a tent large enough for a family, children’s activity packs, bedding, basic tools, a stove, cooking utensils, bowls, and mugs, and a water sanitation system. Even the box itself can be used for water containment, as a crib, or to store food supplies.
I learned about ShelterBox through my work with Rotary International. Often, Rotarians who know the disaster regions well deliver the boxes themselves, teaching families and communities-in-need how to use them. Response teams are working now in the Philippines to help the 4,000 families in the most typhoon-impacted areas.
If you’re not familiar, Rotary International has more than 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. Rotarians have been the ‘boots on the ground’ in efforts to eradicate Polio, bring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to developing countries, and many other worldwide humanitarian projects.
I’ve served as an active Rotarian in my local club, Denver Southeast, for seven years and counting. Rotary has provided me an outlet for fellowship, community service and professional development. Every Thursday morning, I know that I will meet with a group of people committed to helping others (locally and internationally) and embracing our differences to ‘get the job done’. For now, getting the job done means making sure families in the Philippines have a safe, warm place to sleep, and food and water to eat and drink.
Rotary is one of many organizations offering relief to the Philippines. Here are a few more links to learn about other efforts and how you can help:
Wondering how you can make a real difference this holiday season? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how I can guide you in your giving.