It was a record year for Helping Hands and Hooves and its annual Christmas Day Polar Plunge.
Co-director Julie Craig said on December 27 that the nonprofit organization that provides free therapeutic horseback riding lessons to adults with cognitive disabilities raised a whopping $6,100, a record amount according to Craig.
The money goes towards the expenses of operating the volunteer-run program.
“We provide free lessons for people who would not otherwise be able to ride,” said Craig. “This funding allows them to ride.”
There were over 50 plungers that sunny Christmas morning, and even more spectators turned out to watch their crazy neighbors – some who plunge every year as a family tradition – run straight into the freezing waters at Mattapoisett Town Beach.
The low tide makes it a little more challenging, said Craig, although it’s not quite because the plungers have to run farther out to reach deeper waters.
“The worst part is you have to run farther back in,” said Craig, “But hey, it is what it is.”
Craig said the tradition is a welcomed one in the community, with neighbors showing up to say hello, Merry Christmas, have a quick plunge, share some hot chocolate, and then return to their private Christmases.
A bonus this year: no snow and ice.
“It’s quick and it’s a lot of fun,” said Craig. “We did great. It was a record year for funding for us, so it was exciting.”
By Jean Perry