Submitted by Gerry Warner
Thanks to Rotary, the Townsman and the generosity of numerous Cranbrook residents some $12,144 has been raised the past three weeks for ShelterBox Canada to send emergency aid to earthquake devastated Nepal.
Since the 7.2 earthquake and succeeding quakes wreaked havoc on the isolated Himalayan country, ShelterBox International has delivered more than 2,600 of the famed green boxes containing emergency supplies and a waterproof 10-person tent to live in until more substantial accommodation can be provided.
The money goes to replenish ShelterBox depots and warehouses around the world where the life-saving equipment is stored and deployed to the disaster site within hours of the calamity taking place.
Rotary has partnered with the ShelterBox program for more than a decade because of its speedy response to the disaster scene. This is in the best tradition of why people become Rotarians, says Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary President Ursula Brigl.
“In Rotary, it’s all about service above self, and when something like an earthquake occurs, we as Rotarians can see a real and urgent need to do something for others even though they live far beyond our local community. We always want to help and we can do that through ShelterBox.”
Sunrise Rotary members alone donated $1,100 to the cause with Sunrise Rotary International Service Director Gerry Warner raising another $8,080 thanks to a feature article he wrote that appeared in the Cranbrook Townsman on April 30, 2015.
“We were thrilled to see how quickly our dedicated readers jumped into action, as the donations started coming in immediately after the paper hit the streets,” said Karen Johnston, the publisher of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “It is just another reason why the East Kootenay is such an amazing place—we have great people who believe in community.”
The article was based on a presentation Warner made to the students of T.M. Roberts Elementary School only days before the big quake struck. The students then took on Gordon Terrace Elementary School students in a “Toony Challenge” that raised $764 from the T.M Roberts students and a further $846 from the students of Gordon Terrace in the one-day Toony Challenge.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see local students reaching into their own pockets, and maybe the pockets of mom and dad too, to provide emergency relief for the other side of the world,” said Warner. “And as a retired print journalist, it’s also gratifying to see that newspapers still have the power to move people like this.”
The Townsman article alone pulled in $6,880 from generous Townsman readers, Warner says. Another $1,200 cheque came through to Rotary directly from a Cranbrook resident who read the Townsman article.
Meanwhile Cranbrook Noon Rotary Club members donated $2,400 to pay for two ShelterBoxes after a lunch hour donation drive. Noon Club President Elect Carla Nelson, who organized the drive, says members donated generously after hearing about her own experiences in Nepal. “I was there last year and I just spoke to them a little about it and they were quick to donate.”
Nelson says large parts of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu were “leveled” by the mammoth shaker and there was also massive damage in the isolated Nepalese villages beyond the country’s limited road system. But she says she’s sure the Nepalese people will persevere.
“They’re a very resilient people and many of them are Buddhists so they don’t care as much about material things and they will just get on with their lives.”