There were so many crowing the beach at high tide that the polar plunge had to proceed in several waves.
Many were there to honor a lost loved one, while other dippers had the event’s beneficiary on their minds. Money raised from this plunge will benefit the Cape Wildlife Center, a local organization that has been rescuing and treating wildlife from throughout Cape Cod since 2000.
Cape Wildlife was slated to close in November after the Humane Society of the United States decided to pull funding for the center.
A grant from the Pegasus Foundation will keep the doors open until March, buying some time for interested parties to develop a plan to keep the operation running.
Shirts and other wears were also sold at the plunge to cover chilly participants and raise money for the cause.
Organizer Rich French is a retired businessman in Barnstable who said that he’s been producing plunge events for twenty years.
“It’s time for starting the New Year off right,” he said. “If somebody needs a little help, the community comes together, and this is just a focal point to help them out.”
French said the sheer mass of people who flocked to the beach, braving chilly winds and even chillier water temperatures, says a lot about how willing the community is to help out in small but meaningful ways.
Other polar plunges were held across Cape Cod on New Year’s Day, including Bass River River Beach in Yarmouth, where participants raised money for the Yarmouth Senior Center.
At Loop Beach in Cotuit, brave beachgoers jumped into the chilly water to support leukemia research, while a polar plunge in Falmouth benefited the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.
Provincetown’s polar plunge raised money for the Aids Support Group. Swimmers in Bourne jumped into the icy water to benefit the Bourne Food Pantry.