Instead, the three-hour event supporting the Jewish ideal of repairing and caring for the world for future generations was an overwhelming success, despite the day’s cool weather, incessant rain and nor’easterly wind.
The total number of items recycled during Tikkun Tidewater was beyond any the organizers had anticipated or imagined. More than 120 cars came through the sorting area bringing with them: 8,241 pounds of electronics that were kept out of area landfills, 30 pounds of drugs that could have ended up in the local water supply or in the wrong hands, an abundance of professional outfits for women reentering the workforce, 70 cell phones, 100 pairs of glasses and one hearing aid.
A collaborative effort of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council and Young Adult Division, Jewish Family Service, and BBYO, in a project of J-Serve, the event was designed to encourage reducing, reusing and recycling.
Tikkun Tidewater consisted of several unique components. Partnerships were created with community organizations to dispose of or reuse products in an environmentally and socially-conscious way. Those organizations included Jewish Family Service, Goodwill, Dress For Success, Lions Club, and the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Children’s activities, originally planned to be held outside, were still offered; opportunities for learning and creativity were moved to a drier location—inside the Simon Family Jewish Community Center. Young hands made folded flowers out of plastic grocery bags, colored Lorax-themed pictures donated by local IHOP restaurant owners, and crafted working terrariums from empty two-liter plastic soda bottles.
In what turned out to be a fortuitous design plan, recyclers were able to drop off their disposables beneath a large, tented area set up in the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater parking area—a novel, “recycling drive-thru.” A cadre of volunteers worked quickly and continuously throughout the day to unload, sort and thank those who helped Tikkun Tidewater meet its environmental, social and educational goals.
Debbie Smith and Larry Patish say they didn’t mind the few minutes wait time before driving up in a truck laden with computer towers, monitors and peripherals, recycled
from Patish’s law office. “We were so excited when we heard they were collecting computer equipment,” Smith says.
“When we get new ones we pile the old ones up—we don’t want to just throw them in the trash, but we never knew what to do with them,” Patish adds. “This gave us the opportunity to do our part and recycle—it’s a great event.”
Alene Kaufman, director of the Strelitz Early Childhood Center Preschool, also dropped off recyclables on Earth Sunday. She sent her sentiments to the UJFT in an exuberant email:
“It was amazing. Not only was it incredibly organized, it served a great service to those of us who don’t want to “waste” and who seem to collect things in lieu of discarding them inappropriately. I loved that multiple groups in the Jewish community were involved in the event and that multiple groups in the greater community benefitted from it. I hope that this becomes an annual opportunity. A tip of the hat to everyone involved!”