Posted by Karin Soster on Feb 07, 2024
Linda was our chairperson for today’s club meeting at Cilantro.    Paul performed Invocation and the loyal toast to Rotary and Australia.  Charles joined the meeting via Zoom.
ANNOUNCEMENT – President Ron
ARHF Club Donation  -  Ron referenced the club donation of $5,000 for ARHF approved by the board, but yet to be ratified by club members.   ARHF supports many programs.  In addition to approving the donation, club members will be invited to nominate where to apply the funds.  Ron will collate and forward information to club members for their consideration and for determining at a future club meeting.    
Bentleigh Market – stall holder parking is still an issue for the manager at Coles, and whilst we encourage stall holders to park away from the immediate parking area of Coles, the least we can do as club members when rostered for market duty, is to park outside of Coles parking vicinity.   If any Bentleigh traders confront the market office with issues around parking, the rostered team are encouraged to advise the trader to put their submission in writing to the club. 
GUEST SPEAKER – Steve Crosling.
Steve is a member of the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek, and also an ambassador for Shelterbox Australia – he joined today’s meeting to provide us with an overview of their current activities.  Many of our long standing club members are familiar with Shelterbox having witnessed previous presentations and promotions at various Rotary events over the years – however, nothing is static and it is interesting to hear how programs change over time to meet current needs.     And so it is for Shelterbox as well.  A Rotarian in Cornwall, UK commenced Shelterbox in 2000, with the purpose of providing emergency shelter to people and communities in need following a disaster that was either a natural disaster or emergency caused by conflict.   Operations are based in 4 main locations – Europe, USA, Asia, and South West Pacific/South East Asia.  Initially, supplies in Australia were stored in a warehouse in Sydney, but after many years, was withdrawn from use.  Operations have since moved to the Philippines, where supplies are stored in unused aircraft hangars.   Early iterations of the Shelterbox included a tent and necessities for families to survive for up to 12 months, however, whilst this was a standard response for many years, the focus has changed to provide a response based on need.  Its operations are now controlled under the umbrella of United Nations who assess risk and needs before dispersing aid – mainly to avoid duplication with other aid agencies, and to provide the most appropriate response.  The aim is to provide shelter and an appropriate response within 24 – 48 hours of a disaster, with volunteers on site for 10 – 14 days to provide assistance.  Contents and the quality of items provided with a Shelterbox are regulated by the UN and need to meet US standards.   Aid is tailored to meet the need.  Contents have expanded, and apart from the emergency survival box with tent, cooking utensils and blankets etc., kits may include water purifying containers, mosquito nets, solar lights, and building tools.    A recent initiative is to provide vouchers to enable people to buy what they need, help kick start a local economy following a disaster, and to provide affected communities with a sense of self determination and dignity.  In 2022, Shelterbox Australia provided aid to Africa, Pakistan, Ukraine and the Philippines.   Shelterbox is for international aid, and not for our local community – though tents were provided to local communities affected by the 2009 bush fires.   Rotary is the main contributor to Shelterbox Australia.  Thank you Steve for your very interesting presentation and providing an update on this very important program. 
Following the end of Steve’s presentation, Ron had the very pleasant duty of passing  to Steve, a cheque made out for $3,000 as a club donation to Shelterbox Australia.  It was very well received.
ROSTERS – The rosters for Sunday’s market and next week’s club meeting were announced.
Larry highlighted the latest edition of Rotary Down Under and referenced an article on a recent Group Study Exchange event involving indigenous people.
Larry also referenced an article in The Age (27/1) about Professor Arnold Dix – adding Professor Dix is one of the guest speakers at our upcoming District Conference. 
MEETING CLOSE – President Ron closed the meeting with Create Hope in the World.