It started innocently enough — walking dogs on the beach as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean to start another day on Hilton Head Island.
Then Susan Ochsner’s competitive nature kicked in.
She challenged her friends to a contest as they walked their dogs in the Sea Pines Beach Club area.
She announced that they “should have a contest all summer to see who could find the most shovels.”
“This exercise only lasted a couple of weeks,” she said, “but somehow throughout the walks, I kept accumulating treasures left by our tourists, albeit small ones: sunglasses, pails, soccer balls and, of course, shovels.”
At the end of her walk, she would toss them into her dog’s car, “Cashew’s Caravan,” a 2000 Buick Park Avenue that used to belong to her late mom, Lydia Dougherty, who moved to the island full-time in 1971.
“About a month ago, I was trying to figure out what to do with all these toys in the front and back seats of Cashew’s Caravan. Someone suggested a ‘guess-how-many’ game and charge $5 a guess and give the money to charity.”
The prize was a bottle of champagne and a gift basket.
Twenty-three people participated and $705 was collected for Memory Matters.
The toys were counted and organized and were to be given to the Boys & Girls club.
Here’s what they found on the beach:
A total of 95 shovels, 20 pails, 41 forms, 17 pairs of sunglasses, three balls and other toys, making the grand total 229.
Trish Elliott won with a guess of 225. Sara Risinger was close at 223. Guesses ranged from 40 to 370.
“It was a fun, easy fundraiser to better our community and thank our visitors for their items left behind, whether intentionally or not.”