Hazon Detroit has created starter kits to try to make going green easier for community members.

Hazon Detroit has created starter kits to try to make going green easier for community members.

Photo provided by Wren Hack

Group offers kits to help residents go green

By: Mark Vest | Metro | Published April 19, 2021


METRO DETROIT — Hazon Detroit is participating in an initiative to help make “going green” easier for residents.

Hazon Detroit is a nonprofit Jewish organization located in Bloomfield Hills that works in the field of environmental sustainability, and it has created six kits that are themed, curated and meant to help the environment.

On various dates, residents can pick up a different kit between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit in Bloomfield Hills.

The first kit, “Plant-Rich Diet,” was scheduled for pickup April 18, after press time.

However, those interested in that kit, or the five others, can register by visiting bit.ly/SustainabilityStarterKits.

A different date and pickup time can be arranged for those interested in the “Plant-Rich Diet” kit.

A “Reduce Household Waste” kit will be released May 23, “Grow/Eat Local” July 11, “Reduce Food Waste” Aug. 15, “Reduce Energy Use” Oct. 10, and “Buy Less Stuff” Nov. 21.

According to a release, the kits contain “tasty treats, innovative products and ideas, informative climate insights, and inspirational Jewish connections.”

Wren Hack is Hazon Detroit’s director.

“Our national office created a program called the Brit Hazon,” which is “six different programs that assist people in making personal change and commitments to bettering the environment,” Hack said. “And we took that a step further in that we created a kit for each of the six steps for people to pick up and help them.”

Hack referenced the plant-rich diet kit as an example of how residents can benefit from what is being offered.

“It’s wonderful to say, ‘Oh, you should eat more of a plant-rich diet and less industrialized meat,’” she said. “But in these times, when people are still struggling, mourning or fighting the pandemic in any myriad of ways, we said, ‘Let’s make it easy. Let’s put ideas and tools into the kit to energize them to think about, what does it look like to eat a plant-rich diet, or more of a plant-rich diet?’ We’re not saying people have to switch over, but we’re providing them with ideas.”

Hazon Associate Director, and Spiritual and Program Director Rabbi Nate DeGroot shared his take on the kits.

“We’re excited to be offering them,” said DeGroot. “We know that so many in our community, so many people in our network and around the area care about sustainability, want to be green, want to act in a way that is environmentally friendly, and at the same time, we know that it can be really difficult to do that. … What we wanted to do is make it as easy as possible to get people started. … This is meant to go home with someone and give them a number of different ways to engage in (a) theme.”

DeGroot, who resides in Detroit, is of the opinion that collective action is required to face environmental challenges.

“There needs to be scaffolding there, so people can see that it’s not so difficult. It doesn’t have to be so foreign or so overwhelming to make small, incremental changes,” he said. “We want to offer this as a way for people to get started on that, and, hopefully, through the starter kits, they’ll feel inspired, and they’ll feel educated and empowered to be able to continue this process moving forward.”

The cost of the kits can vary for different individuals.

“It’s on a sliding scale,” said Hack, who resides in Milford. “You pay what you can, and you would get all six. … But there may be those who aren’t ready to go in for the first one; they’re not sure. We have availability of people signing in to only receiving five or whatnot.”

People who sign up get scheduled to come at a specific time, with kits placed in the trunk of their vehicle.

Hack would like for the kits to serve as an awakening to people that, “I can make a difference.”

“I think the pandemic has hit everyone,” she said. “The sustainable starter kits allows us to become slightly more aware and say, ‘You know what? Yes, we are grieving this past year, there has been much to mourn, but we have the ability to make changes, to make this world a better place.’ The hope is these kits get people excited to do something about it in ways that they’re comfortable.”

From Hack’s perspective, the kits contain a combination of information and practicality.

“Every kit will come with an education to make people more aware and the actual tool,” she said. “Every kit will come with different ideas as to how you can accomplish eating a plant-rich diet or accomplish reducing household waste or food waste. … When I say tools, it’s actually the products.”

Hack expressed confidence that there is a market for sustainability kits.

“Just in the first week, we got a lot of positive reaction,” she said. “I think people are really interested, and they just need to know how. … The other thing that is interesting is that people are used to subscription. I mean, people started getting their groceries delivered; they started getting their household products delivered. And so, they are accustomed to things being put together for them.”

Hack understands that people may gravitate to some of the kits more so than others.

“The expectation is not that you’re (going to) love every single thing we give you,” she said. “But the hope is that you’re able to grab onto certain things and say, ‘Oh, I can do this.’”

Hack said she is “super excited” about Hazon’s initiative.

“We’ve had a ball coming up with the different ideas of what to put in the kits,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to these coming into people’s homes and seeing what the reaction is. I think it’s (going to) be a fun way of making change.”

Residents can learn more by visiting facebook.com/hazondetroit.