PATERSON, NJ - Early Saturday morning, a crowd of civic-minded volunteers gathered at the overlook of the Great Falls. Groups such as JROTC, Girl scouts, St. Pauls, JFK School Base, Americorp, SLAP, Love thy Neighborhood, Youth Build, Manchester Interact Club, and Rotary all come together to participate in the Slam Dunk the Junk cleanup, an even sponsored through Paterson's public works department.

More than 250 volunteers combed the Great Falls, picking up garbage.

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“It’s for our own health,” said Yazmel Rodriguez, 15. “It’s not only going to help us, but our city. It’s for the benefit of all if us. I expect to do a lot of cleaning today.”

The clean- up lasted about 3 hours covering the Falls and its surrounding area. The groups rake debris from the grass, removed graffiti and shoveled garbage. The participants hoped to inspire residents of Paterson to stop dumping garbage in the city, and instead begin recycling.

“Recycling is important. This is kind of like our home. We should contribute to making it a better city at the end of the day,” said Johnathans Adams, 17.

After the clean up was over, the organizers held a bag count - more than 300 bags of garbage had been collected. Awards went to the groups who collected the highest number of bags. The “Golden Broom” went to SLAP program, who amassed 50 bags. The “Silver Broom” went to Girl Scouts, with 45, while the last award went to Godwin Avenue neighborhood Assn, with 40.

“Everything that we’re doing is for the benefit of the community, and eventually, the benefit of the world,” said Perla Perez, 17.

The Slam Dunk the Junk program will feature cleanups at two other locations later in the month.  On Sat., Sept. 22, the event will take place at Eastside Park, and Sat., Sept. 29, it will take place at Westside Park.