NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – The cold snap is prompting some organizations to cancel their yearly Polar Plunge fundraisers. The extreme cold is proving too much for some of those fundraisers, one in Yarmouth for New Year's Day is postponed, another in Fall River is canceled.
But for one Rhode Island organization, canceling simply isn't an option.
It's the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge, and some folks are committed to taking a dip, despite the extreme cold. It’s a yearly event to raise money for the Special Olympics of Rhode Island.
Year after year, people from all across the area show up to run into the incredibly cold waters of Roger Wheeler State Beach, raising money in the process.
In an average year, they expect about a thousand plungers. With the cold this year, they are expecting a dip in turnout.
Even so, organizers say the plunge remains one of their most important fundraisers of the year, and canceling just is not an option.
It's happening Monday, New Year’s Day, and it very well may be among the coldest they've seen.
Special Olympics Rhode Island Director of Development Tracy Garabedian says, "I've been talking to some of our past participants, some of our penguins who were telling some stories. They're trying to figure out what exactly was the coldest. A few of them remember being at Mackerel Cove, so we're going back a good 20, 30 years - coming out of the water and having just ice over their body, freezing to their body, freezing to the hair on their body."
Garabedian went on to say they do have rescue teams ready to assist in case of an emergency. She added if it doesn't feel right for you to take a dip this year, that's okay. She says safety comes first.
You can also make a donation directly to the Special Olympics of Rhode Island without leaving the warmth of your home. Follow this link for more: