Last year, 2,298 Bears raised more than $700,000 participating in virtual plunges across the state and region.
REHOBOTH BEACH (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: Sunday, February 6, at 1:00 p.m. is the date and time for one of Delaware’s largest fundraising events – the Special Olympics Delaware Lewes Polar Bear Plunge, presented by Wawa and Discover.
According to a news release from the Delaware Special Olympics, “The Plunge, celebrating its 31st year, began in 1992 when 78 plungers raised $7,000. Last year, 2,298 Bears raised more than $700,000 participating in virtual plunges across the state and region. Since its inception, the plunge has raised more than $13.7 million, supporting the organization’s year-round mission of providing sports training and competition along with health, education and leadership programs for over 4,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
“We are very excited to be back in person on the beach for the plunge,” said SODE executive director David Halley. “That being said, we will never forget how the true spirit of this event shined through last year with more than 2,000 people plunging virtually to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the plunge. It’s inspiring to know that just as our coaches strive to bring out the best in our athletes on the playing fields, our athletes really do bring out the best in others when it comes to the community rallying to supporting them.”
Wawa is a presenting sponsor for the 16th consecutive year. In addition to their support at the event, leading up to and for a few weeks afterward, Wawa “change canisters” in stores benefit Special Olympics.
“We are proud to continue a decade-long tradition of supporting Special Olympics in Delaware with our associates volunteering and participating in the Plunge,” said Adam Schall, Sr. Director of Store Operations. “We are so inspired by Special Olympics’ athletes and look forward to providing warmth to participants with free hot chocolate and coffee served from The Wawa Foundation Community Care Truck.”
Joining Wawa for the third consecutive year as a presenting sponsor is Discover, a company that has been affiliated with Special Olympics in a variety of ways for more than 20 years. Discover has sponsored several Special Olympics sports competitions and fundraising events over the years through financial contributions and by providing day-of volunteers.
“At Discover, volunteerism and respect are two core values that help shape our company’s culture and guide our company’s actions, which is why we chose to support the Special Olympics of Delaware’s annual Polar Bear Plunge,” said Regional Operations Director, Lisa Hower. “In addition to Discover’s sponsorship, our employees show their commitment to these values by devoting their time, effort and spirit to making a difference in our communities and to creating better and brighter places to live and work. We have enjoyed our partnership with Special Olympics for more than 20 years, hosting activities such the Dance Fitness event with Special Olympics athletes and virtual BINGO for friends and families of Special Olympics athletes.”
In addition to the in-person Plunge, many virtual Plunges are taking place at schools and in backyards. Saturday activities include a 5k Run to the Plunge, Sand sculpting demonstration and a Restaurant Chili Tasting contest. For Covid-related reasons, the Fire & Ice event and Après Plunge Party have been canceled. More information on the Plunge and all weekend events can be found at www.plungeDE.org.”