Thanks to Up the Creek Paddle Club’s “Paddles for People” auction, area residents and tourists have until the morning of December 24 to place a bid on local artwork and, in doing so, help a local in need.

Paddles for People invites local artists to transform wooden paddles into works of art to raise money for medical cost assistance in the area.

The club’s latest fundraiser will benefit Holly Ridge resident Robin Crouch, who has worked as a waitress at Mainsail Restaurant in Surf City for the past seven years. Last year Crouch was diagnosed with breast cancer and, without medical insurance, has since struggled to pay for medical bills. 

“A little over a year ago, several ladies were sitting around talking about how rough people were having it and Dorothy Royal (club co-founder) suggested we do something with paddles. Let’s get donated paddles and have artists paint them for people who can’t afford their medical bills,” said Up the Creek co-founder Carol Ross. “Nobody gets a cent except the recipient.”

Since then, the club has raised $1,125 for Crouch during an auction held at Mainsail Restaurant, and partnered with the Nobody’s Social Club to raise money for Surf City taxi driver J.R. Hawkesworth, who was brutally assaulted by a passenger in his cab.

The club has also gained support from other businesses that have displayed paddles for auction, including Surf City Community Center, Herrings Outdoor Sports, Thomas Tackle and Seafood, East Coast Sports and Mia’s Marketplace. Other businesses that have consented to display paddles for future auctions include Starfish Gifts, Surfside Sportswear and Gifts, Carolina Decor and More, Dale’s Pub, Gilligan’s and others.

“This is a tourist area,” said Up the Creek co-founder Carol Ross. “There are waitresses, people at the piers, the guys who bring in the fish — lots of people who make this place what it is, and some of them need help.”

Currently, two paddles hand-painted by artist Mark Lempke are on display and available for bidding at Mia’s Marketplace, located on Hwy 50 in Surf City. Bids on the two paddles will be accepted through the morning of Dec. 24, after which the highest bidder will be announced.

“These paddles are for Robin Crouch,” said Ross. “After the first of the year another person will be the recipient of our good will and outstanding paddle painters.”
Other artists volunteering their craft to Paddles for People include Barbara Leiss, Cathy Jaxon, Pam Greenough, Erin Korengay, Sandy McHugh and others.

For more information about Paddles for People, call Carol Ross at 910-467-7967 or visit Dorothy Royal at Surf City Guns and Ammo, located at 103 Atkinson Point Rd.


Aniesa Holmes contributed to this story