FREEZING FUNDRAISER: Local church to host polar challenge
Published 1:40 pm Saturday, January 24, 2015
A local church is gearing up for an icy plunge into the Pamlico River on what is projected to be one of this winter’s coldest days to raise money for those less fortunate.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is hosting its inaugural Polar Challenge on the Pamlico on Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. where at least 14 members of its congregation will join hands and jump into the Pamlico, said Judy Van Dorp, event coordinator. The group will be taking the icy plunge at one of its parishioners’ houses on the river, and snow is in the forecast for that weekend, according to the Weather Channel.
Van Dorp said the church is hosting the fundraising event as an alternative to past fundraisers like chicken plate sales. The church’s outreach committee set a goal of raising $1,400 with the proceeds going to Stop Hunger Now, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on feeding the hungry worldwide. The church will send the nonprofit funds generated from the plunge and, in return, SHN will send a variety of packaged dried beans, rice, vitamins and other items for the church to sort, repackage and send back to the nonprofit.
“This year, we couldn’t think of a good event,” Van Dorp said. “We’re tired of cooking chickens and we thought we would see if anyone would give us money to jump in the river. Stop Hunger Now sends the food to us in bulk, we package it into six meals each, they send it out to places that need it the most and they let us know where it went. Our church is just as much about the world around us as it is about ourselves so reaching out to others is really our primary purpose. We choose that organization because I think we don’t really know what it’s like to be truly hungry, and they (SHN) are professionals at identifying the hungriest people in the world, and they know where our donations will be best spent.”
The church got the idea from the ice bucket challenge that was popular on social media this past summer, Van Dorp said. The church researched and found in an almanac that Jan. 31 is supposed to be one of the coldest days of the year so it set the date, hoping to have enough participants to raise the needed funds for the outreach program, Van Dorp said.
Van Dorp said the church is excited to host the unique event, as well as a little leery of jumping into the freezing river. But together, the group will take the plunge to raise money for a great cause.
“We’re all going to hold hands and jump together,” Van Dorp said. “We’re kind of scared. I will be jumping as well — I have to. But the men have said they will let the women get out (of the water) first. A friend is going to get out in the water in a boat and take a picture of us from the front, and I hope it is snowing. Wouldn’t that make a nice picture?”
To donate or to participate in the Polar Challenge on the Pamlico, contact Judy Van Dorp, event coordinator, at 252-367-5419.