Doing God’s work
Volunteers clean up downtown alleys
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Feb 04, 2018 | 3007 views | 12 12 comments | 139 139 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BRIGHTENING UP THE WORLD – Volunteers clean up downtown allies as part of an effort to keep Jersey City clean
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The rain on Sunday, Jan. 28, was not steady enough to deter more than 50 volunteers from making a return trip downtown to finish cleaning alleys they’d begun to clean up in December. Dressed in yellow t-shirts and green vests, the army of volunteers looked like a swarm of bees as they stomped through puddles on their way along Jersey Avenue. Each wore gloves, and carried brooms, shovels, and plastic bags.

The supplies were provided by the city’s Department of Public Works at the request of Councilman Daniel Rivera, who showed up later to lend a hand.

Jersey Avenue between the Sixth Street Embankment and Newark Avenue is criss-crossed by cobblestone alleys that many locals don’t notice, left over from the era of horse and carriage, though most carriage houses have been converted to garages or storage sheds.

Unlike the usually pristine downtown streets of this neighborhood, the alleys are frequently cluttered with odds and ends, remnants of old leaves, dead branches, and bits of rubbish blown in by the nearby harbor wind.

In December, volunteers from a new church located near Journal Square came downtown as part of a worldwide cleanup dedicated to promoting volunteerism as well as tribute to “Mother God.”

Think global, act local

It was part of a worldwide movement, entitled “Mother’s Street,” to clean up more than 6,000 regions in 175 countries. The cleanup is part of the Church of God’s national and international environmental protection efforts.

“When we were down here we noticed these alleys,” said Jaylene Caba, one the many volunteers who came out on this rainy Sunday in January. “So we came back to clear them.”

The project took about three to four hours, starting from Jersey Avenue between 3rd and 4th Street and concluding at Monmouth Street between 5th and 6th Street, and accumulated a mountain of clear bags that filled the entire public works truck that hauled them away.

While most of the volunteers came from the World Mission Society Church of God – a South Korean-based church – a contingent of South Korean exchange students also took part.

Although new to Jersey City, the church has been operating out of a location in Belleville since 2014, and was first established in Korea in 1948.

While some of the church members are Korean, many of the volunteers at the cleanup were from every race, ethnicity, and background, reflecting the diversity of the city they worked to make cleaner.

“This is a tribute of Mother God, one of the last mysteries of the Bible,” Caba said.

World Mission Society Church is a Christian sect that still believes in an older interpretation that promises the return of Christ. Prior to a major change of faith in the late 1800s, fundamentalists believed that it was the duty of Christians to build a world that would be worthy of the return of their savior. And part of this is to cleanse the planet and work towards building bonds with local communities.

But equally important is the effort by some of the university students to promote volunteerism, which studies indicate is in decline.


“When we were down here we noticed these alleys.” – Jaylene Caba


Promoting volunteerism

One study by Jason Cho, one of the students, said volunteerism among current college students worldwide has seen a significant decline from the previous generation. Whereas people ages 25 to 34 have about a 48 percent rate of volunteerism, students ages 18 to 24 show about a 5 percent rate of volunteerism.

Cho said efforts like this through the church help generate interest in volunteering, and it is his hope that these people by example can bring out more young people.

He said the need is very great, not just for community events like this, but in an age where natural disasters seem to strike more and more frequently, and resources for helping people are limited. Volunteers need to fill in the gap and provide help when financial aid may not be available.

For churchgoers like these, faith is important to motivate them.

“We want to share the warmth of Mother God’s love with the world,” Caba said.

Joshua Acevedo, a volunteer leader of the downtown cleanup, said such activities also help church members connect with the local community.

“The university students intend to present a plan for promoting volunteerism to the United Nations,” said Acevedo, who has been a member of the new church in Belleville for several years.

Born and raised in Jersey City, Acevedo said he became involved with the group through a workmate at Newport Mall. He said he became enamored with its faith and its concept of doing good deeds.

“This is really a fantastic thing,” said Councilman Rivera.

Al Sullivan may be reached at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Joaquin P
February 10, 2018
Very nice
Roxy M
February 09, 2018
I think it’s touching that these people took time out of their busy lives to actually do something that has no benefit for themselves. This selfless type of action reflects the works of Christ and it’s not something I see often in the world today. Keep it up church of God!
February 09, 2018
It is amazing to see how a small act of cleaning an alley in your neighborhood can have such a big effect on the community and people around the world. It touched me to see that they all went back to clean those alleys because they noticed how dirty they were even though they could have been satisfied with the clean up they already did. For me, it shows the kind of heart they have and selfless act they must make. Though it must be difficult to work in tough weather conditions, good job and don't give up! you have my support!
Tony D.
February 09, 2018
This group is awesome. This is what I’m talking about! There is still hope in this world, and these people are taking the clear example. Keep up the good works
Melissa M
February 09, 2018
Wonderful example for the community. I did my research and they are a super active group, always positive and happy to serve - and have received recognition locally and globally. Hope to join in next time!
Alex L.
February 09, 2018
It’s great to see young people doing something for the community. The purpose of encouraging volunteerism is great. I had no idea only 5% of 18-24 year olds volunteer—there is definitely an opportunity there. Great job!
February 08, 2018
This group is a cult. These volunteer efforts are just PR stunts. The truth is that they have hurt a lot of people. Separated families. Broken apart marriages. Just google them and learn more about who they really are. There are only two sites that expose them. One is
February 11, 2018
I think your not sure who your talking about. This church is recognized by the United Nations and also Queen Elizabeth. Haha I dont think they are a cult. A website is not credible but I believe United Nations and Queen Elizabeth are. I will take their word on who the World Mission Society Church of God is over somebody's website. Please look into their church more and you can see that they are a global organization that is bettering peoplekind
February 04, 2018
Mother God is new to me, but at least, i can see that church members are quite active in doing something for the benefit of communities. That's good.
February 04, 2018
In an effort to make the world a better place, many branches of the church regularly holds worldwide cleanup campaigns.The members of World Mission Society church of God carry out not only cleanup campaigns, also various activities to help the community. I hope that God's love overflowing to the world though many campaigns.
February 04, 2018
So great to read this kind of article!Look around you.People are so busy in doing something just for themselves, NOT for their neighbors. However, some members full of Mother God's love did great and wonderful thing for community and its members. Truly 'Fantastic' thing!
February 04, 2018
It is always great to hear and see about people who works for the wellbeing of the community. I am looking forward to hearing more about the volunteer works of the Church of God and Mother God they are spreading.