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La Jollan launches Go Fund Me page to pay for litter-pickup supplies

A La Jolla man is joining the effort to clean up the Jewel and surrounding beach areas, hoping to curb an increasingly prevalent litter problem.

Jeff Gerwin, who moved to La Jolla in September, is looking for volunteers to help pick up trash during his daily walks throughout the Village and La Jolla Shores, as well as donors to contribute to his GoFundMe page to cover supply costs.

If enough money is raised Gerwin said he would pay someone to assist with the cleanup efforts.

“I started off walking around the Village (when) I moved here, but then I thought I might as well make use of it and bought a hand-held picker-upper and started picking up cigarette butts. Since I was already picking up cigarette butts, I started to pick up trash too,” Gerwin said.

Jeff Gerwin with a ‘picker-upper’ he uses to pick up trash and cigarette butts throughout the Village
Jeff Gerwin with a ‘picker-upper’ he uses to pick up trash and cigarette butts throughout the Village

“Every day I pick up the same amount of trash,” he said. “I usually walk around with a 13-gallon trash bag and empty that a few times during the walk. On weekends, I have to use a (30-gallon) yard bag. I go to the overflowing trashcans and put the excess trash in my bag.”

Gerwin’s route typically starts on Prospect Street, where he walks on both sides before making his way up and down Fay, Girard and Herschel avenues.

“I’ve met a lot of nice people that are grateful for what I’m doing,” he said. “When I was just walking, people wouldn’t necessarily say hello, but now that they see what I’m doing, it’s ‘good morning, how are you?’ and it feels more like a Village.”

Because Gerwin said he loves La Jolla Shores as well as the Village, he said he would be willing to split his time between the Village and the Shores, but if a volunteer were to come forward dedicated to the Shores, that would be ideal.

“Cigarette butts are very toxic and they need not make their way into the ocean. We have damaged our seas enough as it is and by doing this in La Jolla we can set the standard for all of San Diego County,” he said.

Gerwin’s best case scenario, he said, would be to offer a small stipend for one person to clean up Bird Rock, one person for WindanSea Beach and one person for the Shores, with supplies provided to them, while he continues to clean up the Village.

Gerwin got started before he became aware of the La Jolla Village Merchant’s Association Sparkle and Shine campaign, in which an employee has been contracted to clean the Village 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The campaign recently rolled out a cleaning cart, paid for by sponsorship contributions. The cart contains a trashcan, broom and dustpan, rake, gloves and plastic bags for picking up dog waste.

Gerwin said he has been in communication with Sparkle and Shine campaign organizer Nancy Warwick to see how his efforts could assist hers.

— More about Gerwin’s campaign at gofundme.com/pmce2g or to volunteer, e-mail gerwinjeffrey@yahoo.com