There may be no more perfect match with Rotary than Homer-based Altruist Relief Kitchen (ARK). ARK is in the business of creating positive change in communities affected by some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable - think those in Ukraine whose lives have been upended by the Russian invasion and those in Turkey who have lost everything to an earthquake. ARK manufactures sustainable "instant infrastructure" that can be transported into remote or devastated locations to provide such basic services as food, water, shelter, and medical care without fossil fuels or electricity. ARK currently has kitchens set up in Ukraine and in Turkey. In 2017, ARK provided free hot meals to those hurt by Hurricane Harvey. In 2018, it began helping refugees at the southern border of the United States. It is expanding its work to help refugees fleeing climate change and gang violence at the border of Guatemala and Mexico. Project funds will be used to help sustain ARK's work all over the globe. ARK is built on three tenets:
1. Radical efficiency: Its 1,350 square-foot field tents can be set up as kitchens that cook almost 500 meals an hour and purify or distill contaminated water on collapsible wood-fired stoves. The tents also can be used as emergency shelters, storage facilities, community centers or field hospitals.
2. Radical sustainability: Because ARK's tents, wood stoves and field kitchens are made mostly from local recycled materials, they are inexpensive to produce. Because they are built and run by the refugees and locals in the affected areas, the money to make and operate them is given entirely to the people who need it. Because the heat, cooking and water purification are provided by wood stoves, fossil fuels and electricity are not needed.
3. Radical transparency: ARK's website shows photos of each donation received matched against photos of each receipt presented in regular update videos so anyone can quickly track all money spent and received. ARK also posts videos of its ongoing operations so anyone can follow what the organization does and how it is doing it.
Grant funds will be used to help ARK meet basic needs of those in disaster situations, allowing those hardest hit to spend their time and energy in rebuilding for the future.It is impossible to calculate the thousands that will be helped by ARK. Club members are involved by raising the funds through community events like the Health Fair, Peony Sales and the Cranium Cup. Grant funds will be distributed immediately to help where most needed.