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W.E. Paddle: Local Lifeguards Show Their Hearts For The Hamptons

McClatchey and other lifeguards will take to the water on Tuesday, September 8 to paddle the 15-mile stretch of Southampton beaches. (Courtesy Photos)

Local lifeguard, Alyx McClatchey, who was born and raised in Southampton, had a great idea. Aware of the continued strain on the services of the dedicated Heart of the Hamptons, Ltd., (HOH) - a food pantry which has seen an enormous increase in recipients during this most unsettling time for our citizens - prompted her to start W.E. Paddle because "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."

In her 11th year as a lifeguard at Flying Point Beach, and having grown up in Southampton, McClatchey relayed, "I saw an article regarding the Springs Food Pantry and the difficulty food pantries are having related to the Covid virus, and since I participate in the Polar Plunge each year and am familiar with the great work HOH does, I wanted to do something further as we want to ensure our neighbors in need are taken care of."

McClatchey and other lifeguards, including Mark Eagianos, who is in his 42nd year as a lifeguard at Flying Point Beach, will take to the water on Tuesday, September 8 to paddle the 15-mile stretch of Southampton beaches.

McClatchey revealed that at least eight and as many as ten guards will be participating, "Although I am having a little difficulty securing ten boards," and advised, "We will begin at Ponquogue Beach at 6:30 a.m. and end at Sagg Main Beach."

"We will swim close to the shore and most likely will have land support from Southampton Ocean Rescue, which is a fantastic volunteer organization. We are not encouraging people to come to the beaches due to the virus and social distancing."

All donations are 100% tax deductible and, more importantly, 100% of the funds raised will go directly to HOH, McClatchey confirmed.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, and almost $3,000 has been raised to date. To make a donation go to www.gofundme.com.

The mission of Heart of the Hamptons (HOH) is "To help people in our local community who are in need, without discrimination, in a dignified manner."

Executive Director Hilton Crosby advised, "We are thrilled about this event as it came about as a complete surprise, and find it so encouraging that this idea originated and was created by Alyx and a group of community-minded people who have come to the aid of our neighbors. We want to sincerely thank everyone involved for their community awareness and support."

HOH offers numerous programs and provides the Southampton Food Pantry, Donated Clothing Room and Assistance Programs to people in need. In 2003 HOH became a non-profit and developed a network of programs and dedicated volunteers to strengthen outreach and effectiveness.

The headquarters at 168 Hill Street in Southampton Village is home to the Southampton Food Pantry. Services include a multi-faceted Assistance Program offering crisis intervention, medical assistance funding, aid for seniors, school supplies and summer lunches for school children, and a meals program for the homebound. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, HOH works hand-in-hand with the local schools, government and civic organizations, churches, and other food pantries to make sure "the need is met wherever it arises."

For more information on HOH go to www.heartofthehamptons.org.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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