Local pet lovers can join a New Year’s tradition and help the Hope Rescues Animal Shelter raise money for homeless dogs by plunging into icy waters on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at noon.
The third annual Polar Plunge will be held at the beach at Gordon Moore Park off Route 140 (College Avenue) in Grafton, IL. Those who plan to participate should arrive at 11:30 a.m. to sign releases. The plunge location was shifted from the Mississippi River, due to unforeseen approvals this year.
Earlier this year, 35 participants raised $4,192 for Hope Rescues, which Alton natives Alison Dreith and Trisha Cruz emailed that they hope to surpass through the Polar Plunge.
Anyone interested in taking the plunge with them can encourage others to donate to Hope Rescues in honor of their plan to plunge, said Dreith. View their Facebook page devoted to the event by clicking here.
"Remember, you are not an official Polar Bear unless you go completely under," said Cruz.
"People who are not interested in jumping in are welcome to watch the plunge, donate money and cheer on these brave souls," Dreith said.
Kara Tesson, who will be a three-time participant this year, said she braves the cold, because “animals have become an irrefutable part of our daily lives.”
“Our responsibility, as their human companions, is to secure their welfare, by drawing attention to responsible and compassionate pet ownership. Hope Animal Rescue and the Alton Polar Plunge draw attention in our community, and I want to be a part of that,” said Tesson.
Hope Rescues is a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter based in Alton, IL, that rescues pets from both abusive homes and shelters that would euthanize these pets if they are not adopted. Begun by Kim Lee and Jackie Spiker in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this organization gives pets a second chance at happy lives with loving families.
Hot chocolate will be provided at the event, and Polar Plunge T-shirts will be for sale for $15. Participants are encouraged to wear some sort of shoes to prevent injuries.
Editor's Note: Monetary donations to Hope Rescues may be made directly to the shelter via the shelter's website, or given to those involved in the plunge itself. If you plan on donating via the website, Dreith and Cruz ask that you include the word “plunge” to help them determine the amount they are able to raise.
For more information, email Plunge organizer firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-979-1908.