The Berkeley Heights Rotary, that has known a good deal about shelter boxes for years and has just sent one of these 10 ft. by 20 ft. 3-room houses-in-a-box to Haiti after its recent horrific earthquake, was host to Mike Dimeno, Rotarian from Montgomery Rocky-Hill, who filled in Berkeley Heights Rotarians on the finer points of shelter boxes.

Shelter boxes are an international grassroots service project of Rotary clubs worldwide, and since Rotarys "are in more countries than McDonald's," as Dimeno noted, these Rubbermaid-type boxes can be deployed almost immediately when disaster strikes without any red tape "because we're already there." Citing the US disaster of Katrina, Dimeno said that shelter boxes were sent to the Superdome, refused by governmental agencies and then rerouted to meet evacuees' needs in Mississippi.

The shelter box was the brainchild of Rotary in Cornwall, England in 2001, and it's the soul of the Montgomery Rocky Hill Rotary that shares its 6-minute video of the Indonesian Tsunami of 2005 with the power of the Rotarian shelter box response...one sees a small woman carrying the 125 lb. box on her head up a steep incline and a sea of shelter boxes being used in every imaginable way. These boxes are individualized for the areas they serve, but all provide water purification systems and enough shelter for ten people to live for six months. For further information on shelter boxes, contact www.shelterbox.org