Miss A Columnist

Laura Swanstrom Reece is a sixteen-year resident of the Washington Metropolitan area, she is a philanthropist and fundraiser at heart. With experience in corporate and grass-roots fundraising, event production on an Olympic scale, and volunteer management, this entrepreneur and member of The Washington Ballet Women's Committee is passionate about supporting the arts and other non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to make change in our nation's capital and beyond.

ShelterBox USA’s Humanitarian of the Year Awards Reception

Last Thursday night at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, ShelterBox USA held a reception and awards ceremony to honor Christopher Dawson, CNN Producer, and Donna Karan, Philanthropist, Fashion Designer, and Urban Zen Foundation Founder for their incredible support of ShelterBox which was able to quickly aid the inhabitants of Haiti when the 7.0 earthquake shattered lives one year ago.

Founded in 2000 by Tom Henderson and a global network of innovative Rotary Club members, ShelterBox has become the largest international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, access to clean water and other life-saving equipment to people affected by disasters worldwide.  With 18 affiliates around the globe, ShelterBox has helped over 1 million people in more than 70 countries.

Guests were able to see exactly what’s in a ShelterBox; a 10-person tent designed to withstand extreme temperatures, a tool kit, a children’s pack containing drawing books, pens and crayons, a stove, pans, utensils, and water storage containers, thermal blankets, mosquito nets, and a water purification system.  A short video presentation followed by remarks from Mr. Henderson made the organization’s volunteer efforts incredibly real to those of us who were only able to experience the chaos of Haiti through our televisions.

I had the unique opportunity to speak with a few of the volunteers who help ShelterBox deliver its mission.  Many were well-traveled and outdoorsy people who were surprised at how rigorous the training aspect was of ShelterBox’s relief deployment activities.  Some said that they were even turned-down the first time, and had to reapply.  I was given the sense that ShelterBox is a very well-oiled machine, which can only help more and more of those in need all over our planet as long as they have the support they need from those of us who are fortunate enough to have our own shelter.

To learn more about ShelterBox USA and how to volunteer, visit www.shelterboxusa.org

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