A community clean-up project for local oceanfront communities encourages residents and/or visitors to clean the beach in exchange for a coupon for local businesses.
Four local beach communities are working together to encourage people to pick up trash.
The Clean Sweep, which is like a bucket brigade to clean up the beaches, was started by town partners from North Topsail Beach, Holly Ridge, Topsail Beach and Surf City. The program, which began on Labor Day, literally asks residents to use buckets in order to pick up trash from the beaches.
Joann McDermon, mayor pro-tem of North Topsail Beach, said the program was spurred from an effort to recognize the four towns as one community.
The incentive? Those who fill the bucket with small trash items can return the container to town hall in exchange for a coupon or voucher to a local business. Those participating include the City Cafe in Holly Ridge; Gallagher's Sports Bar & Grill in Surf City; The Daily Grind in Surf City; Carolina Decor and More in Surf City; Pender County tourism; and Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar in Surf City.
After Hurricane Florence, Clean Sweep was put on hold for some time, so town officials have decided to extend it until Jan. 31.
“We're one island with a huge sense of community and we wanted to offer something for them (residents) to do,” McDermon said.
This concept is especially true, she said, after Florence.
“It allows the community to feel like they can do something, and it’s something they can jump in and help with as well,” she added.
NTB Town Manager Bryan Chadwick said this project and others, like Christmas tree drop off to rebuild the dunes, offer community members a sense of contributing.
Live Christmas trees are being accepted at the public beach access point until Jan. 15 in NTB, the Daily News previously reported.
So far, both programs have been well-received by the community with many inquiries on how to help, town clerk Laura Oxley said.
Chadwick agreed, saying the citizens of NTB are eager to help — especially with the town placed in a sort of limbo with its town hall moved to Sneads Ferry and it’s next moves dependent on FEMA.
“It’s easy, and I think people are more cognizant or keeping things cleaner since the storm,” Chadwick said.
Besides any regular litter on the beach, he said walkways have also been impacted with smaller hurricane debris. Folks are pitching in, however. McDermon said many families have picked up the bucket program since its extension. Others wanted to participate without stopping at town hall first, she said, may collect trash in a garbage bag in exchange for a coupon.
Oxley said she was pleased to see the first-time community effort get the response it did.
“The goal was to start small and I think it’s gone right so far,” Oxley said.