Hunger Dip organizers and Salvation Army Food Bank workers gather for a group photo. Photo submitted.

Polar bears wanted for first annual Hunger Dip

Participants will be collecting pledges for the food bank then dipping into Skaha Lake on Jan. 1

The first annual Hunger Dip is looking for polar bears to take part in this grassroots initiative.

Benefiting Penticton’s Salvation Army Food Bank, volunteers are taking $20 pledges to take a dip into Hulley Beach at Lake Skaha on New Year’s Day at high noon. Pledge tickets will be entered into a draw for prizes and free hot chocolate and snacks will be available to those who participate, and by donation for those who attend.

A former member of the Association of Recovering Motorcyclists (ARM), co-organizer Al Weldon said the idea for the Hunger Dip came about as a way for some like-minded community members to give back to the community.

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“When I joined ARM in 2012, one of the things we do is try to give back to the community, so we started up the Hunger Ride,” said Weldon. “So we’d get together once a year and we’d do a bike run and any of the proceeds we made we’d donate to the Salvation Army’s Food Bank.”

Weldon noted that the food bank is a really good cause to support, especially since 30 per cent of its clients are youth. Since the ARM chapter has closed in this area, the Hunger Ride hasn’t run since 2015.

“So after three years there was nothing, we didn’t have anything to do to help out the food bank. And I remembered when I was younger and lived back east, there was a man who ran a boxing club … any kids could go no matter what, didn’t matter if they had money,” said Weldon. “He’d pick up bottles or put part of his own paycheque in to keep the club running. So the fire department would run this annual polar bear dip fundraiser… and all the funds would go to this boxing club.”

Related: Penticton’s 10,000 Tonight doubled its food drive goal

Weldon and his fellow organizers decided to repurpose this idea to benefit Penticton’s food bank. Now the initiative is seeking participants, also called polar bears, to collect pledges and take a dip for a good cause.

“All you have to do is get one pledge to participate, the more the better though,” said Weldon. “When I did the dip I used to joke that I made thousands of dollars an hour for 30 or 40 seconds of work!”

Weldon said it’s the participant’s choice what they wear to do the dip, but they must fully submerge under the water for their participation to count. A first aid attendant will be on hand.

Registration and pledge ticket pick-up can be done at Realty Executives Vantage or by contacting Jamie at hungerdipregister@gmail.com. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for $200 for those interested in contributing on behalf of a business or organization. Check out the event’s Facebook page or website for more information.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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