MOUNT HOLLY — Students at Rancocas Valley Regional High School will use this weekend’s performance of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” to raise money for direct relief efforts in Ukraine.
Red Devil Dramatics, the school’s performing arts group, donates 10% of ticket sales and 5% of t-shirt sales to Friends of Chervonohrad, a local non-profit organization from New Jersey of Ukrainian descent to help friends and family in their hometown of the same name.
The organization works to meet the needs of the city’s residents, including providing body armor to civilians and helping buy furniture to convert schools and other public buildings into residences.
The cast and crew were struck by the parallels between the play – about a Jewish American family in Brooklyn with relatives in Poland at the start of World War II – and the plight of Ukrainians in the United States today.
“We learned from the characters in the play that when it comes to Ukraine: ‘We’re already there. Maybe not us. But friends, relatives,” said junior Elizabeth Ford.
“As a result, we have decided to engage in a service project that will help support the Ukrainian people,” said Ford, one of the show’s cast members.
Tickets range from $8 to $10 and can be purchased in advance online or at the door.
Although the Saturday evening show is sold out, you can still attend the show on the following days and times:
- Friday, April 8 – 7 p.m.
- Saturday April 9 – 3 p.m.
- Sunday April 10 – 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
During intermission, students will discuss the war, how the play relates to the situation, and the impact of Friends of Chervonohrad.
Just ten miles from the Polish border, Chervonohrad has become the final stopover in Ukraine for thousands of refugees fleeing conflict in the east.
As such, the New Jersey-based nonprofit is also working to cover gas and tolls for more than 300 trips to the Polish border to transport people and supplies.
“As the organization grows, we look forward to supporting the supply drive, which will collect oatmeal, buckwheat, rice, Tylenol and tea,” said second Miranda Cruz. , also an interpreter.
“Donation money will be used for airfreight of goods directly to Chervonohrad,” Cruz said.
In addition to purchasing a ticket for “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, individuals can donate directly to Friends of Chervonohrad here.
Aedy Miller covers education and the economy for the Burlington County Times, Courier-Post and The Daily Journal. He is a multimedia journalist from central Jersey and a recent graduate of George Washington University.
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