Keeping Holden Beach beautiful the goal of June 30 beach sweep

-A A +A
By Brian Slattery

There’s plenty to do on Holden Beach—swimming, surfing, sunbathing—and on Sunday, June 30, add sweeping.

Christopher Politis of Paradise Café and Sheila Faye Donahue are organizing a beach sweep cleanup effort from 9:30-noon that will cover the beach from Paradise Café at 102 Jordan Blvd. to the Holden Beach pier at 441 Ocean Blvd. W.

“We’re trying to beautify Holden Beach and make it a nicer place,” Politis said. “Our main (focus) is the parts of the beach used most, from here (Paradise Café) to the pier—where the tourists go.”

Politis and Donahue said they are determining whether to just work down the beach in one direction or split into two groups, which will start at either end of the two-mile stretch of beach between Paradise Café and the pier and meet in the middle.

“We had the idea before Tropical Storm Andrea, but now we decided to stop talking about it and do something,” Donahue said.

“There’s garbage, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, plastic bags, overflow from trash cans—that builds up.”

Donahue added the idea was spurred by efforts of Surfrider Foundation beach cleanups in Wilmington.

“I surf, I care about the island and I want my kids to be able to enjoy it like I did,” Politis said.

He said they chose the last Sunday of the month in hopes that will encourage people who don’t have to go to work to come out and participate.

“We need people. Anybody who can come will be highly appreciated. The bigger we get, the more we can do, so I hope we have a big turnout,” Politis said.

Politis said they already have more than 20 participants committed to the beach sweep.

“We’ll get out and do it before the sun gets too hot,” he said.

“We’ll meet under the bridge (at Jordan Boulevard) to get started.”

Sponsors include Paradise Café and Castaways Raw Bar, who will provide food and water. Champions Resort Maintenance will provide trash bags and items for collecting trash. And Hobbs Realty has provided beach sweep flyers in all their rental check-in packets.

“We have latex gloves and trash bags (donated), we just need bodies to help us clean up,” Politis said.

They advise participants to bring sunscreen, and if they prefer heavier gloves to bring gardening gloves or kid-sized gloves if children want to participate.

“But there is not too much left on the beach that is dangerous,” Donahue said.

During cleanup, organizers will host an auction with proceeds going to support the Holden Beach Turtle Watch turtle patrol.

Donahue, an artist, will offer a painting from her website saltwatersurf.com. Boomers Rental Company will auction either a bike or kayak, Politis said.

“This is the first one, we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

Once they have established the cleanup effort, Politis would like to continue working on the beach as well as around the sand dunes or along the Intracoastal Waterway and canals, hosting a cleanup four times a season—from late March through August—when the beach is used the most.

“We’ll work with Holden Beach officer Jessica Camara to find the best or dirtiest parts of the island to clean up,” Politis said.

“Pollution affects the water, the oyster beds; it’s not just the beach.”

Politis said he has friends who still make a living off the land, harvesting oysters, so he wants to help them continue.

“First, we’ll focus on the beach. Before the year is up we’ll try to do the marshes. We want to get as big as we can,” Politis said.

For more information contact Politis and Donahue at SaltwaterSurfArt@gmail.com or (410) 703-2560.


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.