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Lakeshore businesses organize virtual beach clean up

Aldea Coffee and My Barefoot Wedding are teaming up for the event which will take place the week leading up to Earth Day.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Thousands of people will visit Michigan's beaches over the summer, and when they do, two lakeshore businesses are hoping they like what they see. To make that happen, they're cleaning up the beaches and they're asking you to help out.

Aldea Coffee and My Barefoot Wedding are teaming up for their annual Earth Day beach clean up.

"Throughout the past two years we've been able to remove over 350 pounds of trash from Lake Michigan beachfronts," said Salim Al-Shatel, a co-owner for My Barefoot Wedding.

For the second year in a row, the clean up will be a virtual affair. 

"Last year it had to be virtual. We were all on lockdown and had no choice. It went really well I think because people were at home. They didn't have a whole lot to do ," said Aldea Coffee community outreach leader Brittany Goode.

"I'm hoping this year people will still get out and do it because they are ready to get back and be involved in the community, even though we can't gather in large groups."

Participants are asked to clean up their favorite beach, park or neighborhood street any time between April 18 and 25. Take a photo of how much trash you collected and post it to social media, tagging both businesses. Tag three friends or businesses and nominate them to do the same.

Both businesses say keeping the community clean not only helps the environment, but the local economy as well.

"We are known as a beach town so a lot of people when they come here they want to leave with that impression of having a nice beach," said Al-Shatel.

"The more people we can bring here to this clean beach, the more they're going to want to come and support other businesses and spend money here and with COVID going on last year into this year, they need that help."

The last in-person beach clean up drew more than 300 people. Last year's virtual event had less participation, but because it was virtual, it extended well past Grand Haven.

"We're able to connect with businesses outside of Michigan and also our friends and family outside of Michigan," Goode said. 

For more details, visit the event's Facebook page.

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