It wasn’t very polar, but there was plenty of “plunging” during last week’s Polar Plunge event in Rapid City.
A fundraiser for Special Olympics, this year’s event raised just a little more than $ 115,000 and saw 454 “plungers.” Todd Bradwisch, vice president of the Law Enforcement Torch Run with Special Olympics South Dakota, said it was a record-breaking event: It’s the most money raised at a single Polar Plunge in South Dakota, and the most people jumping at a single Polar Plunge event in South Dakota.
“It was a beautiful day, great crowd, and just amazing support from Rapid City area crowd,” he said.
He said last year’s event in Rapid City comes the closest; the 2016 event raised $ 94,015 with 267 people jumping.
Bradwisch credited much of the day’s success to the venue, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, which provided ample space and an inviting atmosphere. He said the event had bounced from one location to another through the years, but moved to Black Hills Harley-Davidson last year and returned this year.
“It’s just an absolute great venue,” he said.
Part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run events to benefit Special Olympics South Dakota, the Rapid City Polar Plunge was organized by the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and South Dakota Highway Patrol in conjunction with Special Olympics South Dakota.
Multiple Polar Plunge events are held throughout the state, usually during cold-weather months. Dubbed “Freezin’ for a Reason,” the Polar Plunge challenges people to jump into a pool of frigid water. Prospective plungers must raise at least $ 100 to participate.
The money raised goes to support local Special Olympics teams — in this case, the Rapid City Flame and the Rapid City Storm — and the state program.
Anyone can participate, and Bradwisch said this year’s event saw a broad swath of community support, from law enforcement agencies to schools, and a strong contingent of local businesses.
“It was a huge mixture,” he said. “It was great.”
Hope Center awarded $ 10K grant
A Rapid City organization recently received a $ 10,000 grant from the South Dakota Community Foundation.
The Hope Center, a “drop-in day center” for the homeless and people living in poverty, received the grant last month, according to a release from the Hope Center.
“We are blessed to receive funding from the South Dakota Community Foundation,” Anna Quinn, executive director of the center said in the release. “This money will allow us to continue to provide unduplicated and crucial services to an average of 145 people per day who are living in poverty or without homes in the Rapid City community.”
Local businesses donate to Habitat for Humanity
Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity recently received a $ 6,600 donation from the four Family Thrift Centers and Prairie Market stores in Rapid City.
Between Feb. 8-19, the SpartanNash Foundation, which owns the Rapid City stores, hosted a company-wide retail scan campaign in SpartanNash corporate-owned stores in eight states, according to a release from the foundation.
Shoppers who visited the stores during the campaign could donate $ 1, $ 5 or $ 10, with 100 percent of dollars raised going to support 79 Habitat for Humanity affiliates, including Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity. In total, the campaign raised $ 202,350 for the 79 affiliates.
The local donation, made on April 4, “will help build hope and affordable housing for Habitat homebuyers,” according to the release.
“As we partner with people who have a crucial need for affordable housing solutions, the SpartanNash Foundation’s support is building strength, dignity and stability with Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity,” Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Scott Engmann said in the release.