They did it! — Temple Israel’s can tree displays were a hit at Taste of Hampton Roads, with the 1,500 cans used in the construction donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. Taste of Hampton Roads, held on March 4 at Virginia Beach Convention Center, is the Foodbank’s annual fundraiser and consciousness-raising event. Temple Israel has a long history of partnership with the Foodbank, and gladly accepted the opportunity to help provide sculptures made of cans of food for the event. Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore serves the hungry throughout its 4,745-squaremile service area, including Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin and Virginia Beach, as well as Southampton, Northampton, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Accomack. Even though the Foodbank is salvaging and distributing more food than ever before, census and poverty statistics indicate that it is a long way from meeting the need.
Anat Mor and Jodie Rafalowitz used the inspiration of Gan Eden to create the design, which symbolizes the commitment of the Foodbank to providing healthy food and promoting farm-to-table produce. The Temple Israel team used predominantly canned fruits and vegetables to underscore the emphasis on healthy eating. The plentiful fruit of the Garden of Eden inspired a structure consisting of three potted fruit trees, seven feet high. Each tree reflected a dream of how large fruit might grow in paradise. Cheryl Dronzek, the dedicated project manager, led the team for the test build in February and for the actual build during the snowstorm on March 3. Marilyn Suskind-Pearline and Susan Eilberg braved the weather and discovered the fun of cutting foam core circles. Test build volunteers, Murray Parkin, Eitan Mor, Mark Nachman, Mark Solberg, Jill Haverson, Haley Haverson, Wendy Brodsky, Jody Mazur, Leslie Bradner, Nancy Tucker, Kirk Turner and Anthony Wilson, helped test build, transport, and rebuild the sculptures. Shawnee State University students, who were in town for Spring Break, also assisted.