About The Mid-Atlantic Region
Mid-Atlantic Region Office
Tzu Chi’s Mid-Atlantic Region office is located in Cedar Grove, NJ. The Service Center was established in 1995; one year later it was designated a Branch Office. Our regional volunteers provided relief in the aftermath of 9/11 in New York and continue important food pantry work for the needy.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Kentucky
New Jersey is home to Tzu Chi USA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office. It is a perfect location because the state has the most dense system of U.S. highways and railways, making it a central hub for our programs. Its culturally diverse population also is important as our volunteers are able to serve a multitude of different people.
The office first came about when our volunteer Debbie Chen, who would later become the region’s Executive Director, hosted a tea party in her home for the New York Chapter back in 1993. The next year, Chen was able to follow Dharma Master Cheng Yen on her trip across Taiwan, which inspired Chen to establish Tzu Chi in New Jersey to provide services in that area.
The first official Service Center in New Jersey was established in 1995 with only 13 supporters from three families. But we grew quickly by the next year to include 1,000 supporters and 150 volunteers in a region in need of our services. In 1999, our Service Center was then designated as a Branch Office and moved to Boonton, NJ. In 1999, it was then deemed the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office and in 2000 moved to Cedar Grover, its current home.
Helping after 9/11’s Devastation
The first of our Tzu Chi volunteers to enter Ground Zero to help in the devastating aftermath of 9/11 was Dr. Huei-ju Lin, a dentist, New York director of Tzu-Chi’s International Medical Association, and a deeply devoted volunteer. She opened the door for other Tzu Chi volunteers to do the good works of our organization in the area because of her talents and spirit to live out a selfless life.
She approached life so that she could grasp any opportunity and seize every moment. Before she passed away after battling breast cancer (what year) she wrote, “When I look back, I find that the length of my life is not so important as the depth and fulfillment of it.” She graciously gave thanks to Dharma Master Cheng Yen who teaches us to live a satisfying yet worthy life.
Many of our other volunteers from this region delivered water to relief workers at Ground Zero as well as established relief stations. The lives of the victims’ families were shattered and many lost loved ones who cared for their families. We were honored to be able to help them at that time of need by distributing almost $2 million dollars to families.
Providing Food for Those Without
We began our vegetarian Food Pantry Program in 2010 and partnered with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to bring healthy food to families in need. Our program is important in the community and continues to this day.
Our dedicated volunteers ensure that they are there early in the morning. With roughly 20 to 30 organizations that come to pick up food, it is important for our volunteers to be able to choose the food carefully and that it does not go bad, which defeats the purpose of helping to feed those who need it most.
From red ripe tomatoes, to bread, dry goods and other produce, it all comes from supermarkets as well as some local farms and is donated or provided at low cost to our Food Bank. With a mission to help fight hunger, Tzu Chi volunteers do the hard work to ensure that those in need have full bellies.
150 Commerce Rd
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
107 N 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Tel 215- 627-1915
1333 Banksville Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15216