Canoeing the Mississippi for ShelterBox USA

Erik Elsea, a Florida realtor, will spend 90 days in the summer of 2018 canoeing the length of the Mississippi River to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox USA…

Erik Elsea canoeing for ShelterBox

Bending Branches has been privileged to partner with many great folks in their quest to canoe the Mississippi, for many great causes. We’re excited to partner with Erik and ShelterBox, too!

Erik’s Mission

As a realtor, Erik is very conscious of the need for all people to have proper shelter. As an active member of his local Rotary Club, he’s also very conscious of peoples’ needs, especially in emergency situations.

He decided to combine these two into one ambitious endeavor: Starting July 7th, he’ll paddle the Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox USA.

He shares:

"There are currently more than 85 million people displaced in the world—twice the population of California—due to natural disasters and man-made conflicts. Our goal at ShelterBox USA is to provide shelter, warmth and dignity to survivors of those events."

About ShelterBox USA

ShelterBox serves displaced people worldwide from traumatic events like Guatemala’s volcanic eruption, Caribbean’s Hurricane Irma, Iraq’s conflict refugees and Somaliland’s  severe drought.

They provide tents for temporary housing, tools, cook kits, water purification systems, solar lights and other supplies people need until they can resettle back into permanent housing.

Why Canoe the Mississippi?

Erik grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, so the Mississippi River has always drawn him. He says:

"This adventure has been a childhood dream of mine. Now that it has meaning by supporting ShelterBox USA, it makes this trip even more special.”

He’ll be aboard Nova Craft’s 17-foot Prospector Tuff Stuff canoe, using Bending Branches’ Cruiser Plus Bent-Shaft and Expedition Plus paddles. Erik told us:

“I'm happy to partner with Bending Branches for the Mississippi Expedition for ShelterBox. Besides making the most beautiful paddles in the world, they’re rugged enough to handle a 90-day trip down the Mighty Mississippi. By supporting ShelterBox USA, Bending Branches shows what a great corporate citizen they are by helping people around the world on their worst day ever."

Erik’s Goal for Fundraising

While Erik could complete his trip in less than 90 days, he chose that number for a reason:

“They say it takes a drop of water 90 days to go that distance, so that’s what I’ve decided to do.”

That’ll give him time to meet with supporters and give presentations along the way about his mission and about ShelterBox. He hopes to have many of these engagements set up prior to and during his trip.

His fundraising goal is an ambitious $255,200—$100 for each of the 2,552 miles of the river (based on the famous signpost at the headwaters).

Would you like to participate in Erik’s Mississippi Expedition for ShelterBox? You can donate here.

To stay up-to-date on his trip, you have several choices: Erik’s trip blog or his social pages on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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