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Bulletin Editor
Avis Hardy MPH
MEETING RECAP - 6th February 2023
Submitted by Will Arscott 
Update on ShelterBox Canada with Meg Schmeider
The meeting was held in the Dining Room at the Saskatoon Club. We had good attendance and were joined by four members on Zoom. Our capable MC for the meeting was Wendy Cooper. Greeter was Mark Gryba.  Cashier was Wayne Palmer.  In a break from tradition, we opened with a very appropriate blessing asked by Al Morton.  Al reminded us that, as Rotarians, we are committed to service over self.  The club appreciates the obvious effort Al had put into preparing the blessing. We then sang ‘O’ Canada led by Gary Rusu. The club is singing with increasing gusto.    
Visitors and Guests
Our only guest was our guest speaker Meg Schmeider who has applied for membership.  
Health of the Club
No report. 
The District Conference is in Saskatoon on May 11 to 14. The events are centered at the Travelodge as is the gala dinner. There will also be a dinner Friday at Wanuskewin with a maximum attendance of 150 people. Those who purchase the full package will be confirmed for attendance at this dinner. This conference will also feature an opportunity for hands-on community service. Gary is encouraging our members to be involved particularly when there will be no hotel costs. Registration is now open at Please consider attending at least part of this event.
Donna Gauthier has grocery cards. This is an important club fundraiser so please contact Donna to order your cards.
Happy and Sad Dollars
  • Gary Rusu put in $50H for attending hockey at Allan. It sounds like his grandson Logan had quite an outing and made Grandpa proud.
  • Jack Brodsky put in $200H for the donations to Badge Shield and Star Dinner that have been received.  We thank the club members who have participated.
  • Graham Pearson matched Jack’s $200H for the same reason.
  • Will Arscott put in $10H for reaching the start of the second half of winter.  Will predicts the second half of this winter will be much less dark than the first half. He made this bold prediction without even the help of a groundhog.
  • Paul Gauthier put in $100H to Rotary Polio Plus.  He was able to announce that our club had reached the $5,000 mark in our contributions to the Rotary Foundation.  At this level we are sure to qualify for district grants. He suggested that members wishing to contribute to the Foundation now consider Polio Plus. Polio Plus donations are matched but to not contribute to our qualification for district grants. Donations to Polio Plus can be done online.
  • Maureen Torr put in 10H for developments in the Joy’s program in Uganda. She announced that the school would have twenty paid students this year and would like to get to 100 paid students so that those fees can be used, in part, to subsidize the orphans the school serves. She was also happy for Black History Month and hoped it would encourage all people to learn more of black history.
Program:   ShelterBox Canada Update
Meg Schmeider was introduced by President Steve. Meg traces their interest in refugees and in humanitarian work back to their family’s background as Hungarian refugees. Meg studied Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carlton University and worked in this area with the Grayson Company in Toronto. Since then, their concern for the less fortunate and justice has seen their work for Global Vision and now ShelterBox Canada.  They live in Saskatoon and does most of their ShelterBox work over the internet. Meg volunteers at Prairie Harm Reduction and is studying for the MCAT exam. When not working, Meg is a regular at the Y gym.
Prior to the meeting Meg had placed a couple of shelter box items on the tables. The first was a solar powered flashlight. This item is basic in most packages and the light has developed and evolved over the life of ShelterBox. The newer version of the light includes ports for charging cell phones. Cell phones have become ubiquitous even in disadvantaged places and are often the only means of communication available. There was also a water filtration system on display.   This system has a replaceable filter and shuts down automatically when it is no longer able to filter water adequately.
ShelterBox has been a project of Rotary from its very origin. It is a project of love. Our club has had a past involvement with ShelterBox. ShelterBox originated in the UK and its first delivery was in India. In the early days it was run out of the UK. Eventually it was determined that this model was insufficient for the growth in the project. In recent years ShelterBox organizations have been created on a national level. This makes the organizations more flexible and helps contain the costs of operating the program. Some members recall the controversy at the time of this change. ShelterBox remains a project of Rotary and 90% of deployments are done through Rotary. Deployments and monitoring are done using partnerships on the ground.
Meg is employed by ShelterBox Canada and more than 40% of ShelterBox funding comes from Rotary clubs or Rotarians.
The central purpose of ShelterBox is to deliver a box containing living supplies to families following in need following a natural disaster or a humanitarian crisis. These boxes are for survival and contain shelter and necessities such as cooking utensils and stoves. The contents of the boxes do vary according to where they are being sent. The tent is the symbol of the program.  The tents are large and wind resistant. There are multiple liners available appropriate for cold/hot or wet/dry climates. All the tents are made in Scotland and have distinctive ShelterBox markings. In some cases, the package may not be a box with a tent in it. There is a desire to provide help specific to the situation.
The need is huge. Right now, there are some 113 million people who need help to survive, and that number is growing.  During Meg’s talk we were just beginning to get word of the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria. That situation has turned out to be far worse than we knew on the day of her talk and has added to the number of people needing immediate aid. Meg spent some time discussing the areas of the world in most need of ShelterBox. These included a very serious famine situation in the horn of Africa particularly Ethiopia and Somalia. Often these situations are made even worse by war or political instability in areas that need help.
ShelterBoxes are pre-positioned in five warehouses around the world. There are also advance parties that travel to the area of need to assess the situation. Again, local partners including local Rotary are part of each deployment. ShelterBox also seeks to maximize the value of the donations they receive. Once a project is started the MEAL plan goes into effect. This is a standard plan to monitor, evaluate, assess, and learn from every deployment. It is this program combined with the effort to keep administrative costs as low as possible that seeks to provide excellent value to the people and organizations that donate.
There is a ShelterBox recognition program. A box costs between $600 and $1,800 depending on how it is filled. (the tent makes up about $500 of this amount). Donors who contribute a box become ShelterBox Heroes and are recognized on the website and on a box that is sent out.   There are also ‘stock the box’ donation levels to recognize smaller donations.
Our club has not been involved with ShelterBox in a while.  As a result of Meg’s talk there will be discussion at the board level, so watch for something to come to the club membership in due course.
Meg was thanked by Wendy and the regular donation will be made to Bethany Homes.    
Next meeting is on February 27, 2023. Presenter is ADG Candace Odishaw and she will be speaking about ClubRunner. Please bring your cellphone as you will have a chance to upload ClubRunner at the meeting.