Polar Bear Plunge raises money to feed Cleveland’s homeless

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Plenty of people started off the New Year by taking a quick dip in Lake Erie.

The annual Polar Bear Plunge is a fundraiser to help the less fortunate

"Lord, I ask that you be with the swimmers, watch over them and protect them and allow them to come out safely. We ask this in Jesus name, amen."

Pastor Bob Yuravak of Christ the King Church in North Olmsted started the event with a prayer, then he counted down for the plungers.

Plenty of human polar bears took the plunge at Huntington Beach in Bay Village New Year’s Day.  On a 30-degree day, they didn’t stay in the water long.

"Cold, but it was fun. I would do it again," said Zoe Douglas of Rocky River.

Since 2003, people have been plunging into Lake Erie to raise money for the Rescuing the Perishing food truck. The truck stops in a parking lot at East 18th Street and Payne Avenue in Cleveland every Tuesday to feed the homeless.

“These people are wonderful. They support us like crazy. They take pledges and they jump in the lake for us," said Sue Loparo, of the Rescuing the Perishing food truck.

Organizers said each year there are more polar-bear plungers because people want to help Cleveland’s homeless.

"It feels great knowing that you are doing it for as great cause and not just doing for fun because I wouldn't be doing it for fun," said Tony Schultz of North Ridgeville.

Last year, these polar bears raised $18,000 and this year, they need funds to buy a new kitchen to continue their good deeds.

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