EDISON, NJ -  The Tzu Chi Foundation of Central New Jersey, based in Edison, has won the N.J. Clean Communities Council's 2018 Award for Volunteerism.  “Volunteers from Tzu Chi’s Edison Chapter have conducted monthly cleanups at man-made Lake Papaianni, in a 15-acre municipal park near the Edison Town Hall, since 2009” stated the New Jersey Clean Communities Council in a release announcing the award.  The organization has also hosted regular cleanups of the historic Oak Tree Pond.

The cleanup efforts have removed aluminum cans, glass bottles, candy wrappers, plastics, cigarette butts and, occasionally, larger items like tires and bicycles that get dumped on public property or roadsides, explained Edison Health Director Jay Elliot. “Their enthusiasm is also an inspiration to others,” said Elliot, noting Tzu Chi helped marshal volunteers from J.P. Stevens High School, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, the Lions Club and Rutgers University to join their cleanup efforts.

Its volunteers,  who range from senior citizens to youngsters, also pitch in at local Earth Day celebrations, roadside and park cleanups. They now also host a booth on weekends at the Edison Farmers Market to promote healthy nutrition. “Tzu Chi’s volunteers are terrific role models, raising community awareness about litter abatement, recycling and the effect that climate change has on our environment,” Elliot said. “I really wish their motto: ‘No trash left behind’ would become everyone’s motto.”