The Rocky Neck Polar Plunge rang in the new year with a splash on Sunday, collecting 512 pounds of food and $1,740 in donations for The Open Door.
The annual tradition, coordinated since 2006 by Gloucester residents Cathy McCarthy and Jeff Surette with the help of a small group of volunteers, encourages locals to take a brisk dip in the water at Oakes Cove Beach on Rocky Neck to kick off the new year while simultaneously collecting food donations for The Open Door.
This year, McCarthy and Surette also partnered with Gloucester 400 to kick off the beginning of the new year and the City of Gloucester’s 400th anniversary.
“As January arrives promising winter weather and higher heating bills, the Rocky Neck Polar Plunge helps The Open Door start the year right by bringing community together to welcome the New Year and to fill our pantry shelves,” President and CEO Julie LaFontaine said. “Community doesn’t get any better than this. We are grateful to Cathy McCarthy and Jeff Surette for organizing this annual East Gloucester tradition and the Gloucester 400 for putting food security on the priority list for 2023.”
“We know that The Open Door is a need for many, and we want the community to know how important it is,” McCarthy said. “We need to help those that need it. It’s quite simple, isn’t it? It’s all about starting the new year off positively and having a little fun.”
Approximately 150 people attended the event, including Mayor Greg Verga. To commence the plunge, Rocky Neck resident George Sibley read a poem, an annual tradition at the event.
Those who were unable to attend but wish to donate to The Open Door can do so at FOODPANTRY.org/donate.
About The Open Door
The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.
Founded in 1978, The Open Door is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit and community food resource center for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham.
For more information, visit FOODPANTRY.org.