Locals BBQ hosting fundraiser for Special Olympics | NevadaAppeal.com

Locals BBQ hosting fundraiser for Special Olympics

Staff report
Jonah Kessel/Tahoe Daily TribuneA South Tahoe fireman rises from the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe at last year's Polar Plunge at Zephyr Cove. The event raises money for the Special Olympics Northern Nevada chapter.

At a time when many funding sources have dried up, the Polar Plunge fundraising event has become increasingly important for Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada.

The organization relies on the grassroots fundraiser so that it may provide thousands of developmentally disabled athletes with free training and competition opportunities in 2010. Individuals and teams are invited to sign up now.

Special Olympics will host the “Freezin’ for a Reason” 2010 Polar Plunge at noon March 20 at Zephyr Cove at South Lake Tahoe.

A Polar Plunge Party will be held at Locals BBQ in Carson City from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Just present a Polar Plunge flyer prior to ordering dinner and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Special Olympics. In addition to fun, food and prizes, there will be information available on the many ways you can support Special Olympics, including signing up for the Plunge.

Visit http://www.sonv.org or call Joyce at 886-1329 to receive a flyer or to get more information.

How the Plunge works

Last year, 199 people from Carson City, Reno and Lake Tahoe communities plunged for Special Olympics and raised more than $53,000. That translated into significant help for local athletes who rely on contributions for uniforms, equipment and continued training and coaching opportunities.

The Polar Plunge is organized much like a walk-a-thon. Participants will get donations from people who sponsor them to enter the freezing water. Many plungers create personal web pages to seek donations from friends and family. To support the entrants, see how the pledges are accumulated or to become a Polar Plunger, visit http://www.sonc.org/polarplunge and click on the Lake Tahoe location.

“The Tahoe Plunge is the grand-daddy of all the plunges we have in the area,” said Maggie Schwarz, regional vice president of Special Olympics in Nevada. “We have a lot of community support for our program, and it would be great to see that translate into participation. The athletes demonstrate their bravery in everything they do, every day of their lives. All we need to do is be half that courageous and be willing to get a little wet in some chilly water!”

Although plungers are not required to totally submerge, they must register for the activity and sign a waiver. People also should be healthy enough to participate. Many plungers jump into the cold water in costume. Athletes, coaches and volunteers will be on hand to share their experience with Special Olympics programs.