NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of brave souls ran into the frigid water at Roger Wheeler State Beach on New Year’s Day for the 44th Annual Penguin Plunge.
The tradition started decades ago with just five guys as a way to raise money for Special Olympics Rhode Island.
Special Olympics R.I. CEO Denny DeJesus estimated that close to 1,000 people took the plunge.
“I’m just blown away by the amount of people here on the beach today, those who are plunging, those who are supporting the plungers, those supporting our organization,” DeJesus said. “We’re proud to say that no athlete pays to participate in Special Olympics, so fundraisers like this are critically important.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit the more than 4,000 athletes that compete year-round in more than 1,600 training opportunities and athletic competitions.
Over the past 43 years, the Penguin Plunge has transformed into one of the largest and most successful fundraising events for Special Olympics Rhode Island raising more than $3 million.
The annual Torch Run Plunge in March is another opportunity to donate to the Special Olympics.