Fundraiser for Two Homeless Men Who Clean Up OB Nets More than $28,000

by on September 15, 2020 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

David Hendon and Marc Gervais; photo credit: CBS8

A fundraiser for two homeless men who pick up trash in Ocean Beach has now raised more than $28,000.

David Hendon and Marc Gervais are two friends who wake up at the crack of dawn every day to pick up trash for free around Newport Ave and the local parking lots. They drive up in a dilapidated, broken-down van every morning while it’s still dark, get out their buckets and brooms and start cleaning.

A local reporter for CBS caught wind of the two from a viewer who lives in New Jersey who watched the guys from the Ace Tattoo Surf Cam.

The story of Marc and David is so heart-warming and breaking at the same time, that the reporter, Jeff Zevely, got the word out on them and a Go Fund Me page was re-ignited.  (As of this writing, it had raised $28,195 – the guys had originally set it up to raise $1,500.) Also a local car dealership has pledged to fix their van.

Here is the original story, reposted from News8 and here is a more recent report.

They are both reposted below:

This story started with an email sent to News 8 by a viewer. Mark Pacana lives in New Jersey, but he wants to move to San Diego. Every morning he watches the Ace Tattoo Surf Cam in Ocean Beach where two men caught his eye. “Every morning I see a little mini-van pull up, a beige minivan,” said Mark via our online call.  “They get out they open the back of their mini-van they pull out two buckets and they walk around the entire beach area cleaning up. God bless them for doing what they are doing.” Mark asked me if I could thank those men, so my photographer Scott Hall and I got up early and drove down to O.B. and sure enough there they were in the parking lot next to the pier.

“Morning,” I said. I was met with a man with a smile who said, “Morning.” I told him, “You’ve got a fan, watching you from New Jersey from the webcam over there.” I found out, David Hendon and Marc Gervais are two friends who wake up at the crack of dawn every day to pick up trash for free. The work hard! I said, “You are covered in sweat. It’s five o’clock in the morning. Why work so hard?”  Marc told me, “Well because this place looks like (expletive) otherwise.”  Marc and Dave are homeless and live in this van with their dog Pico. “I love this community and people come down here at night and break bottles and you know we are dog lovers and I hate to see a dog on a piece of glass and cut their paws,” said Marc.

Turns out the two guys who aren’t asking for anything do have a need. I learned that if they don’t get some work done on their van soon Marc and Dave won’t have a home.  “We are homeless, not moral-less. My dad taught me the first time I went fishing you always make a place look better than when you got there,” said Marc.  For four years, not only have they picked up litter in this lot, they’ve even swept the sand then sifted it to get the tiny pieces of trash. “Cigarette butts, little pieces of hair,” said Marc.  Dave then told me, “When we come down every morning it’s trashed, I mean look at it now. If you walk through here you may find one or two cigarette butts on the ground but you ain’t going to find many.”

Dave and Marc both beat addiction and figured if they were going to be clean the streets should be too. “Makes me feel good when everybody comes up and thanks me and say ‘Thank you for a good job,” said Dave.  I told him, “Well thank you.” Dave responded, “You are welcome.”  So from the west coast, it was time to report back to the east.  I called Mark Pacana.
“Their names are Marc and Dave and they are homeless,” I said. “They do it out of the kindness of their hearts.” Mark was incredulous. “They are homeless? Oh, then we need to set them up a Go Fund Me page or something to get them a home and some cash and whatever,” said Mark.

So that’s just what we did. “That’s amazing to find two people homeless taking it upon themselves to clean up a beach area every single night,” said Mark. “You know I’m warm, it warms me up especially considering all of the BS that is going on in the world right now.” A good deed. Spotted on a webcam by a Jersey Boy three thousand miles away. I asked Mark, “What do you want to say to them?” He told me, “Thank you for being a good citizen. More people need to take a page out of their book. God bless them, that’s amazing.” If you’d like to make a donation to help save the volunteers’ van, Marc and Dave have a Go Fund Me page. The men are asking for $1,500 on Go Fund Me but are too proud to ask for what they really need which is $ 3,500.  Let’s do this!! CBS8

in San Diego want to thank News 8 viewers for changing their lives forever. In this Zevely Zone, I went back to Ocean Beach for the feel-good follow-up story that had one last huge surprise.
The original story aired September 5 and told the story of Marc and Dave highlighting their good deed in the community.

Marc Gervais and Dave Hendon were spotted on a webcam picking up trash in O.B. by a man all the way across the country in New Jersey.
Homeless and living in their broken-down van, the men created a Go Fund Me page to ask for a little help.
“As soon as you ran that on TV it tripled almost the Go Fund Me. I couldn’t believe it and I can’t believe it’s as high as it is you know,” said Dave.
“We’d like to thank you, gentlemen, very very much. I mean this has touched our lives in unimaginable ways,” said Marc.

Originally, Dave and Marc were hoping for $1,500, but more than $27,000 has poured in.
“You’ve changed our lives in ways we’ve never dreamed,” said Marc.
Then Dave added, “It changes our lives because now we ain’t broke.”
Dave and Marc are trying to rent an apartment along with sharing a taste of the good life too with their dog Pico.
“He got a big old steak the other night,” said Dave.
For years, their good deeds went unnoticed.
“Before everybody used to just ignore you but now everybody says Hi at least,” said Dave.
When you’re homeless you can feel invisible, which is why they plan to pay it forward to help others struggling on the streets.
“Yeah, it would seem right if we didn’t,” said Marc.

Donations are great, but Marc and Dave say compliments from beachgoers are more valuable than money.
“The woman says to her husband ‘Honey this is the cleanest beach in San Diego we’ve been to yet’ and I was just like yeah, that is just what I want to hear you know? That is just what I want to hear,” said Marc with a huge smile.

I then told them, “We have a huge surprise for you today. This gentleman works for the Chrysler dealership and they are going to give you guys a bumper to bumper mini-van makeover.”

Marc said, “You are going to make me cry aren’t you?  You’re kidding. Oh man!”
RELATED: New Jersey man spots Ocean Beach trash volunteers on web cam
Jeremy Kleiger, the Service Director from San Diego Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram, has twenty technicians ready to repair whatever the van needs.
“It’s a great story, we want to help out too,” said Jeremy. I asked him why they made the offer and Jeremy told me, “Because we need good right now.”
RELATED: Oceanside single mother passes out nearly 10,000 hot meals to the homeless
For two men dedicated to picking up trash, It was finally time to drop the broom.
“I got to, yeah, you got to do the happy dance you know live on TV!” said Marc dancing around the parking lot.
If you’d like to make a donation to Marc and Dave, here is the link to their Go Fund Me page.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Akwhitty September 15, 2020 at 11:03 pm

I went to school with Marc and his brother Monty.
Nice kids. Wish them well.


Peter from South O November 17, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Update! KFMB reports:
“Elevated Smiles in Carlsbad donated $8,000 of dental care to an Ocean Beach trash volunteer.”

Marc and Dave no longer live in their van. They pre-paid the rent for six months for an apartment for them and their dog Pico. Thanks to the kindness of Elevated Smiles, Marc’s about to take another big bite out of his new life.

“I can’t wait to eat corn on the cob again, and peanuts, do you know how long it’s been since I’ve munched down on peanuts?” said Marc. “What makes people want to go out of their way for a trash picker?”


casey stevens November 17, 2020 at 6:37 pm

i do’nt want to name names, but one these trash pickers used to hit the pipe, thar’s how he lost everything and became homeless, i hope he get’s back in NA and works his steps, but i have no doubt with his financial windfall, he will be tempted to hit it……..just one last time.. brother if you are reading this come back to group and work your steps,


Peter from South O November 18, 2020 at 4:48 am

YOU need to look inwards and ponder what the “A” in Narcotics Anonymous stands for.
Work your OWN steps.


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