On Wednesday, Jan. 1, the Special Olympics will hold the 38th Annual Penguin Plunge at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett. The event raises money to support the more than 2,800 athletes that compete in more than 1,600 training opportunities and athletic competitions through Special Olympics year-round.
Between 700 and 1,000 “plungers” are expected to be “freezing for a reason” when they run into the ocean at exactly noon on the first day of the New Year. “The weather has a lot to do with [the number of plungers],” explained Tracy Garabedian, director of development for Special Olympics. She said in recent years, the weather has been on the warmer side so they have had close to 1,000 participants. However, if it is extremely cold or rainy, that number drops slightly.
“[Weather] is a key factor],” said Garabedian.
The Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics is one of the original New Year’s Day Plunges in Rhode Island and is a tradition for generation after generation of plungers.
Over the past 38 years the event has transformed into one of the largest and most successful fundraising events for Special Olympics Rhode Island, raising more than $2 million over three decades.
Because most participants complete their own fundraising and bring their donation the day of the event, Garabedian cannot predict how much this year’s event will raise. Some donations have already come through the organization’s First Giving online fundraising tool; that total is just over $25,000.
“By January 1, we expect that total to be over $50,000,” said Garabedian.
The Penguin Committee is working hard to plan an event like no other, so visit their website at www.specialolympicsri.org to get your official pledge form or use the online fundraising site at www.firstgiving.com/sori to create your own fundraising page.
It’s going to be the “Coolest Event” in Rhode Island with plenty of chills, thrills and fun for the whole family.