Freezin' for a good reason

AMANDA SABGA/File photo. People will once again jump in the lake to support a good cause. The fourth annual Pantry Plunge is Saturday, Dec. 12, at Gallien's Beach in Derry. Proceeds go to support the First Baptist Church Food Pantry.

DERRY — Supporters of a local food pantry are getting ready for an icy dip in some chilly waters.

The fourth annual Pantry Plunge is set for Saturday, Dec. 12, at 11:30 a.m., at Gallien's Beach at Beaver Lake.

Participants will be jumping into the lake to raise money to support the First Baptist Church Food Pantry.

In its inaugural year, the Plunge drew about 38 participants. The numbers have increased in the years since then.

Nancy Francis, a member of the food pantry board of directors, said this year's Plunge is as important as ever.

"We are working hard to raise as much as we can so that none of our neighbors will go hungry this coming year," she said. "Clearly the demands on the food pantry this year are extremely great."

The food pantry at First Baptist Church has served the community and surrounding towns for 28 years, serving more than 350 individuals and 150 families every month.

Francis said although the food pantry's shelves get a seasonal boost this time of year with many food drives at local businesses and schools going to help, it's once the holidays end that the need continues.

Add in the pandemic and this year's challenges at the food pantry are extremely great.

"This year we are all out of our comfort zone," Francis said. "This pandemic wasn't even on our radar at last year's Plunge and now COVID-19 has made this year's event more important than ever."

Francis added that with demands for support high this year, Plunge organizers are determined to rally the community to make this year's event successful.

And as much as the pantry appreciates the generous support of local food donations to help keep the shelves stocked, monetary help is also appreciated.

Last year, the Plunge raised more than $17,000 to support the food pantry.

It's time for teams to start forming for this year's Plunge. Teams and participants are also encouraged to come to the lake wearing fun attire, and footwear is recommended for those who are zooming into the lake's waters.

Anyone wanting to learn more about this year's Pantry Plunge can visit pantryplunge.org, or search for Pantry Plunge on Facebook. Information will also be posted on the First Baptist Church Food Pantry website at fbcfoodpantry.org.

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