Nearly every month, community members join forces to clean up Oceanside — thanks to one local organization.
Since February last year, Ocean-side Community Warriors has spruced up the hamlet, with about 25 cleanups throughout the area to date.
Residents Brian Driscoll and Michael D’Ambro-sio noticed some Oceansiders commenting on Facebook about littering in parks and other outdoor common areas. So they gathered fellow residents to clean up the public spaces, such as the “Welcome to Oceanside” sign on Foxhurst Road and the downtown areas on Atlantic and Long Beach roads.
“We wanted to go over, clean up the town and show our pride for the town we live in,” Driscoll, an NYPD detective, said. “A lot of people were complaining about these issues, and we just figured, ‘Let’s just go out and do it ourselves.’”
At their first cleanup early last year, about 20 to 30 people lent a hand. “A bunch of dads showed up,” said D’Ambrosio, who is a member of the Oceanside School District Board of Education, “and we were out there with plastic gloves, garbage bags and pickers, physically picking up garbage.”
From there, more community members became interested in the group’s efforts. Driscoll and D’Ambrosio created a name for the group, Oceanside Community Warriors, and filed to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
By year’s end, they had enough donations from fundraising to purchase a trailer, decorated with the Warriors logo, which now stores cleaning equipment and supplies, such as trash pickers, gloves and garbage bags.
A group of adults typically pitches in to clean up busy areas. Then they hold large cleanup events, at which they invite the entire community, including families with children. It’s an opportunity for students to receive community service hours, D’Ambrosio noted, and there is usually a Board of Education member present to sign off on them.
Other local organizations, such as Kiwanis Club of Oceanside and Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, usually participate, as well.
The Warriors had canceled several of their spring cleanups because of the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, the group found other ways to help the community, such as donating 5,000 bagels to local first responders and hospital workers.
It also had to cancel a fundraiser. Now, members are starting up again, with a GoFundMe campaign for donations to help them continue their work in town. Funds will help them purchase PPE for volunteers and cleaning supplies to store in the trailer.
“We live here, we raise our children here, and we are proud members of this community and want it to stay welcoming!” the page states.
In June, Oceanside Community Warriors invited families to clean up Silver Lake Park. On July 12, members will clean Terrell Avenue Park, which Nassau County dedicated to the late Detective Lou Alvarez, who lived in Oceanside, last year. Alvarez’s wife, Alaine, will be there helping out.
“He was an advocate for people who were sick and could not speak for themselves,” D’Ambrosio said, referring to Alvarez’s work fighting to replenish the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund in Washington, D.C.
D’Ambrosio asked residents to “like” the Oceanside Community Warriors Facebook page for updates and let the Warriors know of any “trouble spots” in Oceanside that might need a cleanup.