Tzu Chi Food Pantry Celebrates Anniversary
Cedar Grove group serves more than 350 families monthly by providing fresh foods, fruits and vegetables as well as assisting with disaster relief.
The Tzu Chi Food Pantry in Cedar Grove celebrated their second anniversary, Friday, with a ceremony to thank their clients and volunteers who make their work possible.
Tzu Chi, located at 150 Commerce Road in Cedar Grove serves more than 350 families monthly by providing fresh foods, fruits and vegetables.
The Buddhist-based center has also traveled to help those in need after disasters. They have helped to build hospitals in Taiwan, schools in the Dominican Republic and assisted in Haiti as well as South Africa.
The four missions of Tzu Chi, displayed on banners throughout the foundation, are: charity, education, medicine and humanity.
“I see so many volunteers who spend their own time here to help,” said Executive Director Debbie Lin Chen. “People really need to help each other out, if there were more people like us and our volunteers, the world would be a much better place.”
On Friday more than 80 people from Essex and surrounding counties attended the anniversary celebration to show their thanks and enjoy a vegetarian lunch of spring rolls, noodles, rich and fresh vegetables.
Tzu Chi made sure each family left with a bag of fresh foods and a warm blanket.
“I'm grateful because we used to eat so badly,” said one guest. “My son now eats fruits and vegetables and we eat so much healthier. They have helped us so much in our situation.”
The items provided mostly come from the Food Bank, but the foundation sometimes buys items or people donate, said Media Director Ivy Wong. They also provide clothing and blankets, all made from recycled materials such as plastic water bottles.
“To me, it's a very remarkable job,” said Tzu Chi Vice Chief Economic Officer Jackson Chen. “I urge people to join with us to help others just as these volunteers have.”
“I first came here when my husband passed away,” said Evalyn Ramos, who attended the anniversary celebration. “I feel very thankful and wonderful here. I know I have a family whenever I come here.”