When Lida Edalati, 67, first moved to Great Neck Estates nearly three decades ago, someone who was moving away came to her with toys, clothes and an idea: being able to donate them to people.
“I lived in Israel for a long time and coming here, some neighbor, she wanted to leave the country,” Edalati, a Great Neck Estates resident, recalled. “She brought me some toys, clothes, and she told me, you can give them to people.”
Ever since then Edalati has been turning one person’s trash into another’s treasure, seeking to both collect and give away items for others in need.
Edalati keeps her garage open for people too, she said, so they can drop off and take things they need without judgment.
“Some people need it and they can’t buy it and some people have too much and they put it in the garbage. I say ‘why, why?’” she said. “Now a lot of people know me and they put it in my garage and a lot of people come.”
“It’s old for one person, it’s new for one person,” Edalati added.
It was these acts that led to Edalati being one of 12 women on the 2018 May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor, which seeks to recognize outstanding women residing within the Town of North Hempstead who have helped the community.
Edalati said she was surprised to get the call she was being honored by the town and that there are many other people who deserve the honor.
But when it comes to collecting these old items and giving them away, she said it makes her joyful.
“When I see the people happy, they say ‘thank you,’” Edalati said. “I am more happy with them.”
Going forward, Edalati said she hopes to continue her charity work for as long she can.
“However much I can do it, I’d like to do it… That’s up to God [how long I can],” Edalati said. “If I can do it, I do, because I enjoy it.”
Edalati was born in Mashad, Iran, and married Manoucheher Edalati about 50 years ago. The two moved to Israel after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, where they lived for seven years, before moving to the United States in 1986.
Together they have two children, Haleh and Elie, and eight grandchildren.