Send A Shelter Box To Haiti While Enjoying International Foods And Music

SCOTCH PLAINS—Help provide shelter for earthquake victims in Haiti and food for neighbors in need while enjoying international cuisine and listening to vocal and instrumental music from China.  Attend the International Dinner at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains on Saturday, March 6, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The church will donate a quarter of the money raised to the Scotch Plains food bank and use the remainder to send shelter boxes to Haiti.  Shelter boxes are 49 gallon containers that hold a tent that can shelter 10 members of an extended family, and provide other essentials like water purification tablets, a cook stove, bedding, mosquito nets and children’s school supplies.  The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Rotary recently displayed them at the Martin Luther King Day of Service.


The International Dinner will feature an array of ethnic specialties, including Italian, Danish, German, Irish, Greek, Korean, Scottish, English, West Indian and Polish. Complementing the cuisine will be a performance by the Chinese American Music Ensemble Adult/Chamber Chorus, Young People’s Chorus and Children’s Chorus as well as Music From China Youth Orchestra.

Both groups hold their weekly rehearsals at Willow Grove Church. The Chinese American Music Ensemble is also the only choral program in New Jersey that offers choral music training for all ages at the same time and place. It seeks to enrich and broaden the cultural horizons of both children and adults through music training and to provide a community service through concert performances.   Music from China features traditional Chinese instruments and sponsors a summer music program in these instruments for children and young people held during August at the church.

According to Willow Grove’s pastor, Reverend Cynthia Cochran-Carney, the International Dinner is an annual event at Willow Grove Church that reflects some of the most important values and commitments of the congregation.
She said, “Helping neighbors near and far who are in need is central to our faith, so each year we raise money for organizations that provide basic needs of food, shelter and disaster relief.  Willow Grove Church has a growing Ministry of Music and the Arts from a variety of traditions and cultures.  God has shown us ways we can build bridges of hope and understanding that involve people of all ages making music together.”

Admission is $12 for adults and teens, $6 for children 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under, with a family maximum of $35.  Seating is limited and last year the church had a sell out crowd. Guarantee your seat by purchasing tickets in advance, if possible, by Monday, March 1.

To arrange for purchase of tickets, call the church office at 1-908-232-5678, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Depending on advance sales, there may or may not be tickets available at the door.

For more information about Willow Grove Church, e-mail or visit

Those unable to attend but who would like to make a donation are asked to call August Ruggiero at 1-908-889-5948 or Paul DiDario at 1-908-769-5742.

The Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains, opposite the Scotch Plains Southside Firehouse and near the corner of South Martine Avenue. All church facilities are handicap-accessible.

Young musicians from Music from China Youth Orchestra perform on traditional Chinese instruments

Singers from Chinese American Music Ensemble perform at Willow Grove’s International Dinner

Photos courtesy of Willow Grove

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