Karina Garcia: Pride in where you live is where it all starts. And it starts a lot of changes in your own neighborhood.
Lois Paula: As a new homeowner in Camden, New Jersey, Karina wanted to be involved in improving her neighborhood.
Karina Garcia: I love all my neighbors. I talk to all my neighbors. And I live in a neighborhood that I know it can be great and it will be great. It’s just taking a little time.
Lois Paula: New Jersey’s 152 million tree canopies remove over 30,000 metric tons of harmful air pollution annually, covering 44% of the state. Camden is one of the urban areas that are lacking those environmental benefits with an 8.1% average in coverage.
Meredith Pichini: It’s a community effort. Everyone came together to work.
Lois Paula: That’s why when Karina coordinated a tree planting effort with the Urban Airshed Reforestation Program, INC Giving Volunteers dug deep with the community.
Meredith Pichini: Volunteers came from all over including your church to plant today. We were actually done in less than an hour because of the hard work of our volunteers and residents.
Lois Paula: INC Giving Volunteers from Newark, New Jersey were also able to share the experience of planting trees through the New Jersey Tree Foundation.
Cristal Wessel: It really brings the community together and gets everyone working together towards a common goal of planting trees.
Meredith Pichini It’s a fun way to make a difference. These trees–they really are environmental powerhouses.
Lois Paula: And in planting trees, new growth was made within the volunteers and the community
Coordinator: Beautiful part is–this is the last tree you did right? It’s a nice way to remember your beautiful day out here in Newark.
Karina Garcia: I was happy. I loved it, you know, faces I’ve never seen before, faces that are all welcome–because it brings everybody together. It’s for a good cause.
Rose Apelacio: I hope that we see more of it because it was a very fun experience. And being able to help and cooperate with others was a very rewarding experience as well.
Chelsea Bautista: It’s important to give back to the community that you’re from, and we did that by planting trees, beautifying our environment. It’s important to take care of your surroundings, not just aesthetically, but also being mindful of how that affects everyone around you.
Lois Paula: A sense of community and appreciation could be felt across the neighborhoods thanks to the opportunity for volunteers and residents to join together.
Cristal Wessel: So, first and foremost thank you so much. We literally cannot do these tree plantings without the help of volunteers.
Meredith Pichini: First off, thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and we really appreciate all that volunteers do to make this happen. It wouldn’t happen without you.
Karina Garcia: Thank you, thank you so much. It just means a lot to have people come to somewhere where they’re not from, somewhere where it doesn’t directly impact them and to do something good, anyway.
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