Rebecca Walker, left, and Sarah Merrigan react to the cold water of the West River as they take part in the sixth annual Plunge for Charity at the Marina
Rebecca Walker, left, and Sarah Merrigan react to the cold water of the West River as they take part in the sixth annual Plunge for Charity at the Marina in Brattleboro. (Reformer file photo)
Friday May 3, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- When participants in this year's 8th annual Plunge for Charity jump into the cold waters of the West River Sunday, the ripples will extend all the way into next winter.

Every year the event raises funds for a local non-profit organization and the money from this year's plunge will go toward Living Memorial Park Snow Sports, the group that runs the ski tow at the park.

"A lot of people go there and use the ski lift and they've got a few projects they are trying to get done," said Deirdre Baker who organizes the plunge every year. "I think they're a great group to help out."

On Sunday, starting at 3 p.m. at The Marina Restaurant, participants who have gathered supporters will jump into the water.

All of the money will go toward the ski tow at Living Memorial Park.

Nine years ago a couple jumped into the water during the first weekend in May and Baker thought it would be fun to get more people involved. The following year a handful of people got involved and about $1,900 was raised for the Gathering Place, an adult day center. The event has been growing ever since and through the years about $50,000 has been raised for area organizations.

This year about 50 people are expected to take part, raising what Baker hopes will exceed $9,000.

Each year Baker finds a different group to help out. And even though it has been an unusually hot April and May, Baker said someone checked the temperature of the water recently and it is still hovering near 38 degrees.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time to start something like this and it has been going up and up and up every year," Baker said. "I know there are a lot of groups out there that can use the money so we do this each year and then we'll get someone else next year. We'll just keep picking them off one at a time until we hit them all."

For more information on Sunday's plunge go to www.vermontmarina.com of call Baker at 579-5922.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.