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Cortlandt Residents Celebrate Earth Day with Community 'Give and Take'

Town holds its 2012 Earth Day Celebration and 2nd annual swap at Muriel H. Morabito Community Center.

The Muriel H. Morabito Community Center on Westbrook Drive became a temporary haven for treasure hunters and spring cleaners alike Saturday as residents of Cortlandt and nearby areas gathered to drop off and pick up items during the town’s 2012 Earth Day Celebration and 2nd annual “Give and Take.”

Embracing the philosophy of “reduce, reuse and recycle,” the town-sponsored “Give and Take” sought to “inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment.” Residents were encouraged to donate unwanted items of “clean and reusable” quality so that others could give them a second chance at life while simultaneously reducing waste.

The event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., was free of charge and staffed by volunteers community members and town employees, better known for the day as “The Green Team.”

Drop-off for the event began at 8:30 a.m. and the rows of empty folding tables that filled the center were quickly stocked with donations of housewares, clothes, books, movies, toys and more. 

By 10 a.m., said Green Team volunteer Karen Grexa, approximately 75 residents had come to the center to drop off an item and/or see what was available for the taking.

“It’s been a riot,” Grexa said. “Everyone who comes to drop off something has been taking something, too.”

Eileen Lepore, a Putnam Valley resident who returned to this year’s “Give and Take” after attending the one last year, brought her mother, sister and brother with her.

“We came better prepared this year,” said Lepore, who traded in her books, picture frames and shoes for some pots, pans and linens.

“I think it’s awesome the town does this,” Lepore said. “We all hold onto things and this is a great way to give back and a chance to get to know our neighbors. It’s also a nice way for older people in the community to get out for the day and meet people.”

In addition to the services of the “Give and Take,” residents who stopped by the community center were also offered supplies to assist them in neighborhood clean-ups going on throughout the afternoon. In the spirit of Earth Day, aprons, gloves and garbage/leaf bags were handed out for free to those who volunteered their help.

Many of those who came to the center to take advantage of the free clean-up supplies retreated to their own neighborhoods to spend a few hours tidying the town. Others chose to clean public places of recreation, like resident James Scully, who brought his two sons and their friends to clean the baseball field off Old Locust Avenue.

“It’s a really nice thing the town does,” said Lenny Varella, a volunteer who helped staff the “Give and Take.”  “The whole thing is a good event.”

This was Cortlandt’s third “Give and Take” and its second annual one.

“The first “Give and Take” last Earth Day was so well received that we decided to hold a second one last September,” said Green Team volunteer and town employee Sharon Palmiotto. “This one is going well and if we can get the volunteers we might do it again at the end of this September.”

If you would like to volunteer for the town’s next Earth Day event please e-mail volunteer@townofcortlandt.com or call (914) 734-1002 for more information. 

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