New Year's Day polar plunge tradition fundraises for Chosen 300 Ministries

FRANCONIA TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It's been an adventurous New Year's Day tradition for 11 years.

Nearly 30 brave souls take the polar bear plunge to support Chosen 300 Ministries at Branchwood Park in Franconia Township, Pennsylvania.

"It motivates people to give because they say, 'if you're crazy enough to jump into cold water, I'm crazy enough to give you $100. I'm crazy enough to give you a $1,000,'" Executive Director Brian Jenkins said.

The Franconia Mennonite Church hosts the fundraiser every year; it's one of the largest fundraisers for Chosen 300.

The nonprofit has been feeding families in need for more than 20 years.

"There's just so much determination behind it and passion behind it and heart behind it, as far as getting the word out for those who need help," Outreach Pastor Kyle Rodgers said.

Alana Bergey, who belongs to the church, enjoys plunging for a good cause.

"I think it makes it all the better, and it gives me a reason to not look completely insane," said Bergey.

Jenkins says this fundraiser comes at a perfect time.

"First quarter of the year is always down. People have given everything that they wanted to give for the holiday season," he said.

Chosen 300 hopes the challenge meets their goal of $15,000 this year.

It's the first in-person fundraiser the nonprofit has done since the pandemic.

"All of our events this year have been canceled," Jenkins added. "So we're looking at $75,000 in revenue lost from events."

Chosen 300 encourages everyone to give as the need to feed those in need continues to grow with a new year.
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