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ShelterBox - Aid in a Box

Updated on March 18, 2011

Shelter in a Box

The ShelterBox is a charity and idea that was founded by a British ex-Royal Navy search-and-rescue diver named Tom Henderson.

ShelterBox provides shelter and aid for up to 10 people during times of crisis or catastrophe.

What Does the ShelterBox Provide?

Shelterboxes are sponsored by service clubs, (Rotary Clubs), school and church groups, businesses and individuals, etc. Materials are ordered from a range of suppliers selected for general use, long-life, quality and price. Shelterboxes are prepared and packed using all new materials as delivered from manufacturers, at the Shelterbox warehouse based in Helston, Cornwall. The standard Shelterbox weighs 110 lbs. and has approximate dimensions 33" x 24" x 24". They are sealed and banded for transit and security. Box contents vary depending on the nature of the disaster requiring their use.

Boxes Are sometimes packed with two 10-person tents in them, (to the exclusion of some smaller items, to maximize shelter capacity. Some of the selected Box items that are available for inclusion in the Box are:

The entire contents of a Shelterbox.

One 49 gallon box (The Shelterbox) initially the container for delivery of the materials listed below. Once delivered, can be used as water tank, food store, cot, table, etc.

One domed ten-person tent complete (200 square feet of covered accommodation), including two fabric interior privacy partitions, outer fly-sheet and repair kit. These tents are considered 'winter suitable' by international relief standards.

Vinyl insulated sleeping mats and lightweight thermal blankets. More compact than sleeping bags, these mats and blankets have multiple uses. The blanket can also be fashioned to catch water, as a tarp, etc. while the mat also serves as a ground 'table' for meals, or tent rugs.

Ten envelope-type sleeping bags.

One pack of 180 water purification tablets and one 5 gallon flat-pack water container (Each tablet will purify a full container of water providing 1,800 gallons of clean drinking water which should be sufficient for a family of ten for up to three months).

Two 2.1 gallon, collapsible, plastic water carriers.

One collapsible trenching shovel

Rope, 164 foot

Repellant-treated mosquito netting

Ten PVC Ponchos/ ten HD plastic bags

Tool kit in canvas bag: hachet, jack-knife, screwdriver, hammer, hoe head etc.

Multi-fueled cook stove

Eating utensils: enamel plates/cups

Children's activity kit-simple school supplies, stickers and coloring book

The contents are under continuous review. A small stock of wind-up radios (short-wave and FM) has been obtained to substitute a sleeping bag in every tenth box should such a requirement arise.

For shipping purposes, a large container (40 feet) can accommodate up to 240 Shelterboxes, smaller containers would typically be half the size and quantities. The purpose of Shelter Box USA, Inc. is to provide victims of disaster with shelter, by supporting the efforts of the Shelter Box Trust.

Plans are in development for site-specific Box contents to address varying climate conditions. For example, a tropical disaster site would require sleeping mats and mosquito netting instead of sleeping bags.

What is Shelterbox about?

This is a heart-stirring video. It gives me shivers when I watch it!

The Beginnings of ShelterBox

Shelter Box is a grassroots Rotary club project which has rapidly grown to an international level.

ShelterBox was set up by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard and all aid is distributed from the base in Cornwall. The charity is supported by international affiliates set up by Rotary clubs in various other countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, France and the USA.

The Founder: Tom Henderson

ShelterBox - A Million in Africa

In need of good shelter

In need of good shelter
In need of good shelter

Aid in Pakistan

Aid in Pakistan
Aid in Pakistan

Cookin near a shelter

Cookin near a shelter
Cookin near a shelter

A new shelter in a box

A new shelter in a box
A new shelter in a box

How Can You Help?

You can get started by downloading this ShelterBox Fundraising Booklet (PDF format)


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    • pkmcruk profile image


      7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      This is such an incredible aid to those suffering the aftermath of a disaster. I know that at the moment the UK based organisation is producing 1,000 boxes a day which they are aiming to help those in Japan who are contending with unimaginable conditions. You can follow them on Twitter (@ShelterBox) and this lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 

      7 years ago

      Sounds like a good idea--I live in a variable climate with auto, fire hazzards, and I like summer hiking, camping and winter outings, and have much practce being packed for emergencies. Lens-rolled this, too, to my earthquake lens, "christchurch-canterbury-New-Zealand".

    • Jack2205 profile image


      7 years ago

      Blessed by the Charities Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Just saw this on your FaceBook page. Thumbs-up my good friend.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm impressed. Thanks for letting us know about this wonderful charity. Love, d

    • debnet profile image


      10 years ago from England

      I remember seeing an item about these on the news some time ago. What a wonderful resource. Great lens ;)

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      10 years ago from Idaho

      What a wonderful charity! It just chokes me up when I hear of the help they have given others, so wonderful! Bless them all!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens and important work

    • Jamie2258 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens! Nice to know this charity is there to help those in need!

    • GlennaJones profile image

      Glenna Jones 

      10 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      What a worthy idea. Can you imagine the impact one of these boxes has on a needing family? 5*

    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      10 years ago

      I really like this lens a lot. I have never heard of this charity before. I wonder if it is on squidoo's list? Thanks for this share!!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Nice work! We can not do enough in helping out.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank God for those who can do this and do it!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      10 years ago

      Very needed and worthy charity. the world is in such need. Thanks for this lens

    • Rich-H profile image


      10 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Great lens in support of a very worthwhile project. Thanks for sharing :)

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 

      10 years ago

      Thanks - I never heard of this. These kinds of things help restore my faith in humanity, most of us on this planet are basically good people, maybe all of us will rub off on those few bad ones that do such inhumane things to the rest of the world.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      A great idea and charity to highlight, looks like there is a large concentration in the Pacific islands. Nice work!

    • atirial profile image


      10 years ago

      A very good cause - thank you for promoting it!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      Having the boxes standardized and ready to go at a moment's notice makes sense. ShelterBox is a worthy cause and well worth highlighting.

      Good job!


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you for exposing me to this wonderful charity. Very nice lens *****

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Yes, a very good cause. The Shelter Box is such a simple idea but sometimes those are the most effective!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It does look like a very find charity.


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