SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Members of the Buddha's Light International Association - New Jersey Chapter(BLIA-NJ) on Aug. 11 donated more than two dozen backpacks filled with school supplies to the South Plainfield Department of Social Services.

"We realize the difficulty and hardship more people may be experiencing because of COVID-19 and, though it’s still not clear if the in-person school session will resume in September, we believe that fresh school supplies and a brand new backpack will always be exciting for a student to have a good start for the new school year," said BLIA-NJ President Paul Tong. 

To ensure all grade levels are covered, members work closely with Heather Barry, director of social services, and shop in store and online to fulfill items from district school supply lists. This year, BLIA members purchased 30 backpacks in different shapes and sizes and filled each with a variety of grade-appropriate supplies for students entering preschool through 12th grade. 

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“I want to once again thank BLIA for reaching out to support our community and our kids. Their donation of backpacks and school supplies will go a long way, especially this year with so many more families turning to us to make ends meet as a result of the current healthcare crisis. It's a tough time and school supplies, including new backpacks, can become really expensive," said Barry. "Their generosity will hopefully ease the burden on many of our families."

Donations to the South Plainfield Department of Social Services and the South Plainfield Food Pantry are always welcome. Residents, businesses, community groups and organizations interested in helping or donating can contact Heather Barry at 908-226-7625/7628 or by emailing Residents of South Plainfield in need of assistance or anyone who knows a family that is struggling, should also reach out. 

The New Jersey Buddhist Culture Center, located at 1007 New Brunswick Avenue in South Plainfield, is a Buddhist temple founded in October 1995 through the delegation of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the 48th patriarch of the Linchi (Rinzai) Ch'an School. For additional information, call (908) 822-8620; visit; or email

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