Community Invited To Assist Foreign Exchange Student With Special Service Project Saturday

A Shelterbox kit. Courtesy/Shelterbox USA

Los Alamos

Once upon a time, an organization existed in town called, “Youth Helping Youth.” While they longer are operating under that name, there are plenty of youth helping youth and many others that continue to make this community thrive.

One such youth is Ida Mattila, a 17-year-old young lady from Finland. She is in the United States as a foreign exchange student with the Los Alamos Rotary Club and just like the local Rotary organization, has a commitment to service.

This Saturday, with the help of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, she will be selling gingerbread houses and do it yourself kits to raise funds for even more good service.

Los Alamos Rotary exchange student Ida Mattila of Finland

“I’m taking a marketing class in the local high school I go to and it’s why I’m doing a fundraiser for Shelterbox as my DECA marketing project,” Mattila said.

Shelterbox is an organization that sends ready-made packages to those who suffer devastation from nature or war. The kits include shelter, in the form of a tent, tools, child friendly items and more.

“I’m baking and decorating gingerbread houses and DIY gingerbread house kits with help from the Los Alamos Rotary Club and marketing class students, to sell at the Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Mattila said. “The plan is to sell houses to raise enough money to buy one package for Shelterbox.

The survival kits cost $1,000 and if Mattila can raise enough, she will get a special code that allows her to track the package that she, with the help of her new community has purchased.

The gingerbread houses and do it yourself kits  range from $10-$12 and Mattila plans to have some practice materials on hand during the four hour event for some hands on building at the event.

“I’m very very grateful that the Chamber of Commerce is letting me have the fundraiser there,” Mattila said.

Those unable to attend the Saturday event can still make donations with checks being made payable to the Los Alamos Rotary Club and sent to 77 Isleta Dr., White Rock, 87547.

As the DECA Club prepares to head to a conference, the turn-around for the project will be quick for Mattila to showcase her idea and her temporary community.

Shelterbox Mission is to deliver humanitarian relief in the form of equipment and materials that bring shelter, warmth and dignity to people made homeless by natural or other disasters worldwide.

Shelterbox Vision is of a world in which basic emergency needs for survivors of disasters are rapidly met.

Shelterbox Goal is to help 35,000 families who lose everything in a disaster every year.

Learn more about the Shelterbox project at