Rotary clubs to hold Shine for ShelterBox dinner

November 17, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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Cranberry Rotarian John Marshall, a ShelterBox ambassador, was recently honored with a presidential volunteer service award for his many hours of volunteering with ShelterBox.

Rotary clubs across Butler County will host a charity candlelight dinner for the disaster relief group ShelterBox from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

The event, “Shine for ShelterBox,” is the third such event since 2018, and raises money for the international organization, which provides supplies and tents to people who are in disaster zones or areas of civil unrest. Since ShelterBox's founding in 2000, the organization has helped more than 2 million people around the world.

“The dinner is a gathering for people to enjoy an evening of food and fellowship, and they can learn more about the disaster relief organization that ShelterBox is, and they have a chance to see some of the equipment that is delivered to people,” said Kathleen Corcoran, event co-chairman.

The event will take place at The Stables at Connoquenessing on Evans City Road in Renfrew, and will include catering by John Marshall, entertainment by the Harmony-Zelienople Jazz Band, and gift basket raffles and silent auction items to raise funds for the organization's efforts.

Rotary clubs from across Butler County and Western Pennsylvania are invited, but the event is open to the public, and those interested in getting tickets before Thursday can register online on the ShelterBox website.

Legacy of volunteering

The first Shine for ShelterBox dinners in the local Rotary district were organized by Rotarians Tom and Marie Grant, who both died in 2020.

“After Tom and Marie passed, we wanted to continue this event and rebrand it in memory of (them),” Corcoran said. “What you'll be seeing on Friday is, we've set aside a time to show a video of their involvement in ShelterBox, and we'll have a display of the awards they had received throughout their tenure in Shelterbox. We're remembering them in a very fond way.”

The Grants were very active in their organizing for the event in the past, Corcoran said.

“We established a committee, because Tom and Marie had done so much to plan this event,” she said. “Where they were two people, it took 10 more to make it work.”

ShelterBox Ambassador John Marshall.

Local volunteer honored

Cranberry Rotarian John Marshall will attend and cater the dinner. Marshall, a ShelterBox ambassador, was recently honored with a presidential volunteer service award for his many hours of volunteering with ShelterBox.

“John Marshall is an outstanding volunteer and a local Rotarian in the area,” said Sarah Robinson, senior director of fundraising at ShelterBox. “For multiple years, John has donated his services as a caterer, and he is also doing it for the upcoming dinner.”

Marshall said he first got involved with ShelterBox about seven years ago.

“I'm a caterer, and I'm also a Rotarian,” he said. “I got involved with ShelterBox because I felt the need to, but one of the good things about trying to raise funds is that people always like to eat, so that's always a good way to raise money. So I donate my services to help raise money for that cause.”

Marshall was good friends with the Grants, he said, and was inspired by their work to become a ShelterBox ambassador. He was not expecting to be nominated for the award, but said that it is “a great honor.”

“I feel really good about it, but we don't usually talk much about it,” he said. “One of the big things about Rotary is it's (about) service above self, so we do the service not looking for accolades. But every now and then, if you get one, it's kind of nice. They just kind of come out of the blue.”

Marshall is a two-time past president of the Cranberry Rotary, and a Rotary District Governor nominee for 2023-24.

“I hope to shine a little bit more light on ShelterBox during my year as District Governor as well,” he said.

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Julia Maruca

Julia Maruca