Penguin Plunge to benefit Special Olympics

Johnston Sun Rise ·


It’s called “Freezin’ for a Reason” and is a fund-raising event unlike any other in Rhode Island.

It’s called “One of the coolest New Year’s Day events” that promises to bring in some big bucks when the clock strikes noon Monday at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett.

It’s called an event that promises to have as many thrills as chills and fun for the whole family that will directly benefit some 3,500 athletes that compete year-round in over 1,600 training opportunities and athletic competitions under the banner of Special Olympics Rhode Island.

So, it’s no wonder that Dennis DeJesus, the highly-respected President/CEO of SORI, along with Program Director Chris Hopkins and Director of Marketing & Communications Gerri Walter, are excited about Monday’s Penguin Plunge.

“The Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics (RI) is one of the original New Year’s Day plunges here in Rhode Island,” Walter told the Sun Rise Tuesday. “It has been a tradition for generation after generation of plungers.”

Through its first four decades, “Freezin’ for a Reason” has held true to its name and raised more than $3.5-million for Special Olympics Rhode Island.

Last year’s Penguin Plunge brought in $134,000 and organizers have been working overtime in recent months in hopes of breaking all previous marks since the Penguin Plunge was held in Jamestown and later moved to Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett in 2012 because of its rapid growth in popularity and to accommodate all plungers.

“Over the past 41 years the event has transformed into one of the largest and most successful fundraising events for Special Olympics Rhode Island,” Walter explained. “All plungers are encouraged to raise a minimum donation of $50 and in many, many cases people go above and beyond in sometimes record-setting numbers.”

As noted, the 2018 Penguin Plunge will begin at 12 noon at Roger Wheeler State Beach and is expected to attract as many spectators as plungers.

“We’re expecting thousands of plungers Monday,” Walter said. “The thought of running into the ocean may sound chilling, but no one seems to mind Freezin’ for a Reason” to help our Special Olympic athletes here in Rhode Island.”

Those who’d like further information or to make a Plunge Pledge should call SORI at 349-4900.