by Rachel Shubin
Special to the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper
CAPE MAY- A Villas resident is making waves by organizing a beach clean-up event. Eighteen-year-old Jill Simons has planned a clean-up event at the Cove Beach in partnership with the 1 Piece Each organization.
Simons became an ambassador for 1 Piece Each by messaging them on Instagram.
1 Piece Each is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that believes that if every person focuses on picking up one piece each, they can make a serious impact on the quality of the future as a whole. 1 Piece Each was founded in New Smyrna, Fla. in May 2017.
“If I were to be an ambassador, I wanted to be physically involved,” Simons said. “You can do anything for them, like a beach clean-up.”
Simons had participated in beach clean-ups while she attended Lower Cape May Regional High School, but wanted to get involved on her own plan incorporating local businesses.
“I went to Coffee Tyme, Magic Brain and Big Wave Burritos and got them to offer free coffee or chips and salsa,” Simons said. “I also talked to the manager at Home Depot and they donated buckets and gloves for the clean-up, which was cool.”
Social media and the internet make it easier for younger generations to spread messages and raise concern over important issues. Simons wanted to use the reach of small town social media to make a difference.
“My main idea is that Cape May is so small, that everyone knows each other because we live in the Cape May bubble,” Simons said. “It’s not that people don’t know how to get involved. But I want to get everyone talking and to know each other and then participate in the clean-up. Hopefully they will think and talk about the event afterwards.”
Simons said she believes the clean-up will remind people the importance of recycling and local comradery.
“I want to give everyone knowledge and insight to take home,” Simons said. “It will bring people together and they can have a good day while doing a good thing.”
Simons said she encourages people to stop using plastic straws, because they often end up in the ocean.
“Plastic straws are really lightweight and they can miss the trash can and end up on the beach,” Simons said. “Take trash with you because if it doesn’t grow, it’s got to go. Keep trash with you and do not throw it on the beach. Put it in your pocket or even your shoe. People don’t realize that the trash you throw out tends to end up back out in the environment.”
Simons said she enjoys being out in nature and Cox Hall Creek in the Villas is her favorite spot in town.
“I’m always at the beach and I skateboard a lot,” Simons said. “I just enjoy being in Cape May in general.”
The event will take place at the Cove on Saturday May 12 at 10 a.m.
Participants can enjoy a free cup of coffee from Coffee Tyme or Magic Brain or free chips and salsa from Big Wave Burritos.
“They have to post a picture of the clean up on Instagram,” Simons said. “They can tag the shop they’re going to, tag myself and 1 Piece Each.”