A ShelterBox tent is among the disaster relief items on display for those attending An Evening to Experience ShelterBox.

A ShelterBox tent is among the disaster relief items on display for those attending An Evening to Experience ShelterBox. (Isaac Hernandez de Lipa, courtesy of ShelterBox USA:)

More than 200 people enjoyed a hands-on experience with aid items from ShelterBox at the disaster relief organization’s annual Tacos and Tequila fundraiser, held recently at the Summerland home of John McGovern.

The event, themed An Evening to Experience ShelterBox, was held for the first time after a two-year pause due to the pandemic.

Guests got a close-up look at ShelterBox aid items, including relief tents and shelters, solar lights, tools, cooking sets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and blankets. Attendees also met ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members, who are trained volunteers who deploy to the frontlines of disaster and crisis situations.

“There are more than 114 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes by disaster and conflict, more than any time in recorded history. And that number is only growing due to climate change-driven storms that are becoming more severe and further increasing global displacement,” said Kerri Murray, president of Santa Barbara-based ShelterBox USA.

“We are so inspired and grateful for our local community here in the Santa Barbara area,” Murray said. “We are still tallying the fundraising results, which have already topped $250,000. This support allows us to have greater scale and impact, helping more families who have lost everything in an instant.”

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential household items to people displaced by catastrophies, like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes and floods; as well as those in prolonged conflict and war zones.

ShelterBox has been on the front lines of the war in Ukraine since fighting broke out six months ago, and recently launched responses to the devastating flooding in Pakistan and the historic drought in Eastern Africa.

At the event, ShelterBox USA presented McGovern with its 2022 Community Partnership Award for his support of ShelterBox’s global mission of no family without shelter following disaster.

McGovern has hosted the local benefit at his home four times and served as a long-term volunteer, even lending out his trucks to help ShelterBox respond locally after the 2018 mudslides.

The event was emceed by KEYT reporter John Palminteri. Music was provided by Lawrence Juber, the Grammy winning guitarist in Beatle Paul McCartney’s band, Wings; as well as guitarist and singer songwriter Steve Postell. The host committee included Kerrilee and Martin Gore, Helga Morris, John Glanville and John Ilgen.

ShelterBox Response Team member Steven Tonkinson, who has deployed to 15 disasters and sits on ShelterBox USA’s Board of Directors, addressed the group. Tonkinson raised more than $60,000 as its first “adventurer,” climbing Mount Everest, 29,029 feet, in 36 hours at an event in Utah — all with a large ShelterBox strapped to his back.

Food and drinks were provided by event sponsors Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, tequila maker Codigo 1530, vodka distiller Goodnight Loving Vodka, and winemaker J Wilkes. Other event sponsors were TGH (Truly Great Homes), Delicious Decors, Montecito Village Travel, MarBorg, Isaac Hernandez De Lipa Photography, Stratus Streaming, TriCo Reprographics, Blue Star Parking, Impact, Yardi, Maps.com, and Community West Bank.

Volunteers from local tech companies Impact and Yardi assisted with the event.

To volunteer, fund-raise, or make a donation to ShelterBox USA, visit www.shelterboxusa.org or call 805-602-2400. ShelterBox USA is a 4-Star rated charity by Charity Navigator and has a Platinum status from GuideStar.