The ShelterBox mission is to rapidly deliver an emergency shelter and vital aid to stabilize, protect and support communities devastated by a natural disaster and humanitarian crisis. It was founded in the town of Helston, Cornwall, UK, in 2000. The Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard adopted the cause as its millennium project, and is now an official partner of Rotary International.

The shelter is provided in a unique sturdy plastic container containing basic survival materials for ten people. Materials include: a large tent designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, a water purification kit, blankets, tools, cooking supplies, and other necessities. The contents are varied to specifically meet the conditions of the location of that disaster.

When disaster strikes, ShelterBox will first assess the situation to determine how the organization is best able to help those in need. They work with local organizations, international aid agencies, and Rotary clubs around the world to provide supplies. A Response Team is dispatched to the site to oversee the delivery of boxes and provide disaster relief to those in need.

The district ShelterBox committee is responsible for working with clubs to educate members about ShelterBox and its mission. They are also tasked with encouraging clubs to raise funds and make donations to the cause, including sponsoring entire kits for $1000.

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