St. Virgil Group Helps Keep Morris Plains Cleaner And Litter Free
As the weather gets warmer, groups will be spreading out across Morris Plains to pick up litter and recyclables that have been carelessly tossed along roadways and in parks. The first to participate this year were a group of twelve students from St. Virgil.
The St. Virgil group uses their mini grant money to help fund their yearly trip to Appalachia to help do work in this very depressed area. Along with two adults the young people were out on a chilly and drizzly first weekend in April to scour Simones Park. They picked up seven large bags of trash and two large bags of recyclables.
Simones Park, at the end of Mountain Way, has been adopted by the sixth grade students from Borough School that have pledged to go out and clean the park four times a year. But Simones Park is a problem area. Even with the Borough School group, extra clean-ups, like this one by St. Virgil, and the help of neighbors that live across the street, litter is a consistent problem. Banners in the park with the litter program logo “Pick Up Morris Plains – Keep Us Litter Free” as a reminder to visitors have helped, but not enough.
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.
Anyone can help stop litter by using the many recycling containers and trash cans placed throughout the parks, as well as all along the main street, Speedwell Avenue. There is also a recycling container placed across the street from the train station. But even more important, the attitude that causes people to litter must be changed. People tend to think that somebody else will clean up litter left in the street or on the sidewalk, especially in places where there already is a lot of litter or places where the sense of community pride is low.
Morris Plains wants everyone to take responsibility for their actions and pride in the environment and the town – don’t litter, put trash and recyclables in their proper place!
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.”
The groups that participate receive grant funds from the State Clean Communities Program. 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.”
For more information about the Morris Plains Clean Communities program residents can go to the Borough of Morris Plains Web Site at https://www.morrisplainsboro.org/ and can sign up for the Mini-Grant program by contacting the Municipal Clean Communities Coordinator, Ellie Falco at (973) 538-9103.