MORRIS PLAINS, NJ -  J.P O’Kane, Lukasz Matwiejczyk, Christopher Holick, Christopher Fortmuller, and Elizabeth Teracciano, along with seven other students from St. Virgil’s School were the first group to participate in the Morris Plains Clean Community Program. The first weekend of April was cold and damp, but that didn’t stop this group of students from picking up seven large trash bags and two large recycleable bags from Simones Park.

The group receives a grant from the State Clean Communities Program for participating in the Clean Community and Recycling Program. St. Virgil’s will use the money they receive from the grant to help fund their yearly trip to Appalachia.

Penny Manser is head of the Youth Ministry at St. Virgil and said that, “The mission trip we take each summer is ten days of working with the people of Harlan, Kentucky (the 18th poorest county in the United States).  The families there are picked by lottery for help with roofing, plumbing, painting, ditch digging, sheet rock work, siding, clean up from floods or whatever is needed by these local families. It is our opportunity to truly work as disciples in the world, and to learn to be grateful for the gifts that we have.” 

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Litter is unhealthy, unsightly, and can be a safety hazard.  Simones Park not only has soccer fields and open areas, but also has a well-used playground, so that broken bottles and crushed cans could lead to injuries.

Morris Plains Councilman John “Jack” Doherty is the liaison to the Clean Communities and Recycling programs and he commended the mini grant groups saying, “We are pleased that so many groups come out during the year to help with litter pickups, but hope our residents will keep our town a “community of caring” and do their part.”

For more information about the Morris Plains Clean Communities program residents can go to the Borough of Morris Plains Web Site at and can sign up for the Mini-Grant program by contacting the Municipal Clean Communities Coordinator, Ellie Falco at (973) 538-9103.