Sunday evening on Tybee, when the blankets are folded and the trunks loaded as another approaching week has intruded on another weekend, for one group of volunteers, it's already time to return to work.
"If you do nothing else during the day,” said Tim Arnold, a Tybee resident and the founder of the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers, “the way I look at it, you feel really good after you take some trash off the beach.”
The folks who meet every Sunday have always picked up trash on Tybee, by habit and out of courtesy.
But last August they came together as the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers and are making a difference in the appearance, sanitation and safety of Savannah's beach.
"There's been clothes, there's been shoes, there's been dirty diapers and lots and lots of bottle caps,” volunteer Juli Zopf said of the many items left behind by beachgoers. “There are water bottle caps, straws and the little cellophane juice box straws. It’s really terrible.”
But by picking up after others, the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers are making the beach better for everyone.
"If you do any kind of research on litter and litter behavior,” said volunteer Kathryn Propst, “you’ll find that having people see other people pick up litter makes them less likely to litter. So, it’s good that we’re doing this in a group.”
“It takes small steps,” added Arnold. “And hopefully through education, awareness and volunteerism, the trash will go down considerably on Tybee. It's too beautiful a beach to have trash on it.”
So, these WTOC Hometown Heroes will keep showing up as most people are going home for the weekend, bringing with them pickers, buckets and the best intentions for a cleaner, better Tybee.
"I'm sad that we need to be available for this cause,” said Zopf. “But at the same time, it helps, because the city can only do so much and then volunteers help and it's great.”