PELHAM, NY—No, Theresa Mohan isn’t running an “Occupy Corlies Avenue” movement.
And the tent planted in her front yard isn’t part of some creative solution to household snoring issues. Mohan’s nighttime camping excursions are part of larger global campaign she is hopeful will take root locally and county-wide.
Mohan is taking part in Big ShelterBox Week, which takes place June 9-16. ShelterBox, which is headquartered in England, is an organization that provides emergency shelters and supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters.
“I’ve been involved with other charities along the way, but this one really spoke to me,” Mohan said. “It just comes at a time when you need it the most. There’s no controversy in it. These people have nothing and we just try to give them something that give them dignity and hope.”
During the week, volunteers are asked to take part in activities that raise awareness for the organization. Mohan, who sits on the board of directors ShelterBox USA, is doing her part by camping outside in her home until Saturday. She even braved the outdoors on Tuesday, when rain showered the area for a good portion of the day.
In addition to sleeping outside, Mohan plans to throw a cocktail party for friends Friday to raise more awareness for ShelterBox.
She has been posting regular status updates on the venture on her Facebook page.
“I go inside to cook because I have to cook for the family and then I come out," Mohan said. “But maybe next year I’ll take time out and cook outside.”
When ShelterBox agents are deployed to an area, the boxes they bring contain tents, coloring books and other children’s activities, blankets, pots and pans, and a tool kit.The tents are built to house as many as 12 people.
Each tool kit takes about $1,000 to create. The organization has deployed 117,000 boxes since it was created in 2000.
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Mohan is currently staying inside one of the tents that would be typically be packed and sent off during a disaster.
Mohan, who is IBM’s senior regional counsel for the Eastern United States, got involved with ShelterBox while searching for organizations to partner with through IBM’s Global Pro Bono program.
“My goal was to find an organization that IBM lawyers around the world could work on,” Mohan said. “We had looked for a really long time and after the tsunami in Japan, I was listening to an interview on the radio of Lasse Petersen [international director of ShelterBox]. ShelterBox has 18 affiliates around the world and they needed lawyers.”
Mohan said IBM got in contact with ShelterBox and formed partnership. But Mohan’s involvement didn’t stop there.
“It seems that once you get involved, you just keep getting involved,” Mohan said. “The reason I thought ShelterBox was such a great organization to get involved with is because it really meets basic needs.”
Mohan has also applied to be response team member for ShelterBox.
So far, Mohan’s twin 5-year-old daughters, Jamie and Erin, have been the most enthusiastic supporters and have camped out in the tent.
“We watched a movie until the computer ran out of power,” Mohan said of the first night out with the twins.
Maggie Moskowitz, a graduating senior at Pelham Memorial High School and Mohan’s oldest daughter, was scheduled to join the group on Monday. Katie Moskowitz, Mohan’s second oldest daughter and sophomore at Pelham high school, was scheduled to camp out on Tuesday.
Mohan has yet to convince her husband, Peter Moskowitz, to join in on the fun.
“The only person who has really been a holdout is my husband,” Mohan said. “He’s like ‘I don’t like camping’ and I can’t blame him.”
Anyone interested in donating to ShelterBox can do so by going here.