Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

Thousands raised by selfless ShelterBox supporters during Lent

SUPPORTERS of the international disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, have raised over £11,000 for people around the world left without shelter after disaster by taking part in its annual Tent for Lent challenge.

Around 300 people supported the fundraising campaign this year. It encourages people to give something up, take on a challenge, organise a fundraiser, and donate the money raised or saved to support people uprooted from their homes because of disaster and conflict. 

People from all over the UK have been getting creative in their efforts, giving up their beds, litter picking, and running miles.  

One supporter from Tower Hamlets taxed herself on every leisure activity during Lent, in a creative way to gather funds. Cinema tickets, restaurant meals, and takeaway coffees all incurred a ‘leisure tax’ which was then donated to the charity. 

Grandmother of five, Alison Jones, said:

“The leisure tax idea is something that a few friends and I developed a while back. I’ve been doing it during Lent for around 30 years, each time for a different charity. This year I chose ShelterBox.

“I am a strong believer that leisure activities are a luxury and it’s a luxury that displaced people around the world don’t have. I also believe that a sense of home and shelter is a necessity, so the work ShelterBox does is so important and I’m glad I’m able to help.” 

The Cornwall-based charity supports people around the world who have been displaced by conflict or disaster. By providing shelter aid, and other essential items like solar lights, mosquito nets, and kitchen sets, ShelterBox supports people to rebuild and recover after disaster.  

As well as donating money from her leisure activities, Alison, who has multiple sclerosis, walked a mile every day for 40 days to raise additional funds for the charity through sponsorship. 

Alison, 67, continued:

“When my children were young the leisure tax used to be a lot more expensive with Scouts subscriptions, swimming clubs, and lots of family outings. That’s why I decided to take on the walking challenge. It was also an opportunity to ask people for donations, and to ultimately spread the word about ShelterBox and the issues people around the world are facing.”

Family and friends donated to Alison’s walk, including a £5 donation from her oldest grandchild, Noah. Nearly £700 was raised from both challenges which will help support ShelterBox and its programmes around the world.  

Another supporter set herself the challenge of swimming 7,166 metres; one metre for every mile between her home in High Wycombe and Damascus, Syria, and back again.  

Thousands raised by selfless ShelterBox supporters during Lent

Sarah Wanigasooriya, an occupational therapist working for the NHS, wanted to take on a swimming challenge with a distance that was significant for ShelterBox and for her own physical abilities.

The charity has been supporting people in Syria since 2012, responding to conflict and more recently those displaced by powerful earthquakes.

Sarah, 47, who has mild cerebral palsy, swam every week during Lent and through her JustGiving page raised £765. 

John Stanbury, community fundraising assistant at ShelterBox, said:

“We’re grateful to all our amazing fundraisers. It’s been so wonderful hearing about the different ways people have been involved and it’s humbling to see so many coming together to support people they will never meet. 

“Together we can celebrate the impact made by emergency shelter after communities are pulled apart by disaster or conflict. Wherever the need is greatest, whether in response to the flooding in Malawi, the conflict in Gaza or displacement caused by famine in Somalia, we can make a life-changing difference.”

Other fundraisers include a woman from Cornwall, who completed 40 days of litter picking, cleaning up her local area as well as supporting the charity. Alongside her dog, Groot, Jenn Sandiford went litter picking rain or shine and raised over £700.  

Another donation came from Richard Hunt from East Sussex, who raised over £4,000 in a sponsored campout. Heavy rains, cold temperatures, and a few eventful nights were not enough to put the churchwarden off, spending seven nights camping outside his church in support of the campaign. 

Since it was founded in 2000, ShelterBox has supported over 2.5 million people in around 100 countries. 

The charity is currently responding in Malawi where heavy rain has caused severe flooding, damaging and washing away homes. A ShelterBox response team has been working with local people and CARE Malawi to distribute tarpaulins, tools, water filters, solar lights, and other essential items. 

ShelterBox is also responding to conflict in Gaza, Mozambique, Cameroon, and Yemen.  

People wanting to find out more about ShelterBox can do so by visiting: ShelterBox.org.

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