Taking a swim at Beaver Lake during December may be near the bottom of most people’s to-do list, right alongside sticking your tongue to a frozen pole. But, despite the perplexing nature of the idea, jumping into icy waters during the winter season, or taking the “Polar Bear Plunge” as it is called, is a long standing tradition that has been done all across the world for decades.
Whether it is done for competition, charity or simply the thrill of it all, hundreds of thousands of people perform the act year after year, and Derry residents will soon be getting the opportunity to take the plunge as well, as the First Baptist Church Food Pantry will be hosting its first ever Pantry Plunge at Gallien’s Beach on Beaver Lake on Dec. 16.
Nancy Francis, a volunteer with the food pantry, was one of the original inspirations for the event, having previously attended a similar event for a church in Connecticut. Upon seeing the massive positive impact that it had on that community and recently joining up with the food pantry because of her son’s involvement, Francis suggested back in the summer that Derry have their own plunge.
“It was a case of ‘Why should they have all the fun?’”, Francis noted.
If you wish to participate in the event, know first off that it is a fundraiser and you will need to go to the event’s Facebook page in order to find the donation sign-up sheet, with which donors can donate for the participant and write down their information. On the day of the event, be sure to bring the money you have collected with you, as well as a towel and warm, dry clothes to wear afterward. Members of the pantry are also encouraging people to create teams to join the fun if they wish, as Francis is doing with her fellow staff from Derry Blue Seal.
But all the donations will be going towards a great cause, as the food pantry, which been serving Derry since 1992, assists roughly three hundred and fifty individuals and families a month, totaling to more than forty two hundred people a year.
“They rely upon the generosity of the public”, Francis stated.
The gates will be opening for the plunge at 11:30 a.m. and it will officially begin at Noon. For more information about the event, including the donation form, please visit facebook.com/PantryPlunge/.