Car wash to fund beach trip
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Friday, May 3, 2019
Imagine having never been to the beach, never playing in the sand and surf.
It is a reality for some Rocky Mount children — a reality that is about to change as residents come together on Saturday to hold a free car wash with donations going toward helping less fortunate children take their first trip to see the ocean and enjoy all that a day at the beach has to offer.
The car wash is set for 2-6 p.m. at Pridgen Tire on Sunset Avenue hosted by Love Rocky Mount, the heart and brain child of business executive Warren Daughtridge. He said his new purpose in life is healing the city of the recent political strife and underlying racism with a goal of bringing city residents together.
Love Rocky Mount is new, but it means business, said Johnny Cunningham, a prominent local contractor and founder of ReGroup 1, a charity organization that works to rehab and restore old rundown homes in low-income communities and create jobs for young men that in most cases have criminal records.
Cunningham said he went to the first Love Rocky Mount meeting in mid-March at Rocky Mount Mills and was amazed how people wanted to do something positive in the community.
Cunningham mentioned in a conversation on the group’s Facebook page that there were children in Rocky Mount who never had been to the beach.
“We have kids that have never felt hot sand between their toes and salt water splashing on them,” Cunningham said.
In three days, 300 people joined in the online conversation in how to get Rocky Mount children to the beach.
A committee quickly formed and now 40-plus children are set to take a charter bus in June to Fort Macon near Atlantic Beach.
“This is all first-class all the way,” Cunningham said. “It’s an educational trip where these kids will get exposure to more than the world right around them. I remember when the schools were integrated and I was bused 40 minutes away. My neighborhood was working class. Everyone worked. Here I was rolling through neighborhoods with manicured lawns and three-story brick houses. I saw that there’s more out there. It made me want to work to achieve my goals.
“That’s what the car wash is about,” he said. “It’s raising money, but it’s about these kids earning a seat on that bus to the beach. It’s sweat equity. And learning to work together.”
Cunningham said the children live in the projects and do not often see different people working together — and here are people working to help them go somewhere special.
“These are fresh new people,” Cunningham said. “A who’s who of Rocky Mount taking their time to help these kids get to the beach. Their hearts were tugged when they realized there were kids right here in Rocky Mount who have never seen the ocean. These are strangers who could not sit by and let it happen.”
Chef Jamais Brown will have food with all proceeds to be donated to the beach trip. The Blind Dog at Lowes will donate a portion of Saturday proceeds to the trip. The event also has a slew of corporate sponsors.
Anyone who wants to help but cannot make the car wash event can make checks payable to S&P Law c/o Regroup 1 and mail them to S&P Law, PO Box 981, Rocky Mount, NC 27802. Cash and checks also can be dropped off at S&P Law Firm at 874 Country Club Road in Rocky Mount.
Credit card donations can be made by calling S&P at 252-443-2195.
Love Rocky Mount is just getting its feet wet with the car wash and beach trip. Back-to-school and other events are being planned.