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Two Hamptons Polar Bear Plunge Fundraisers Taking Place On New Year's Day

Nicole Barylski

The Main Beach Polar Bear Plunge draws hundreds. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

Do you have a long-standing tradition where you start off the New Year by making a mad dash into the Atlantic on the first day of the year? Well, the forecast for New Year's Day on the East End is expected to be around 20 degrees, so those who plan on taking that dip must be pretty darn daring - meaning you might as well do it for a worthy local cause.

The first Hamptons polar bear plunge will take place at Gurney's Montauk (290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, www.gurneysresorts.com) in support of The Retreat. On Monday, January 1 at 10:30 a.m. a group of East Enders will flock to the sea and most likely promptly retreat to somewhere warm and toasty. Those who plan on participating are asked to arrive at 10 a.m. to sign up. Admission is a donation to The Retreat and complimentary hot beverages will be served.

The Retreat, which is based in East Hampton, is the East End's sole domestic violence service provider. Last year, the non-profit served 6625 clients, provided 4822 nights of safe shelter, 2981 counseling sessions, and 2559 legal advocacy assists, and answered 3362 hotline calls. For more information, visit www.theretreatinc.org.

The 17th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Main Beach (101 Ocean Avenue, East Hampton, www.facebook.com) - which brings out hundreds - will take place on Monday, January 1 at 1 p.m. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. The entry fee is $35, which includes the new 2018 Polar Bear Plunge hat which was created by East Hampton High School student, Lauren German. Registered plungers can celebrate post dip with complimentary hot dogs, chili, hot chocolate, donuts, and chowder. It is recommended that plungers arrive no later than 12 p.m. to allow for ample time to park and register. Proceeds from the annual event support the East Hampton Food Pantry and Amagansett Food Pantry.

"The food pantries all look forward to the Annual Polar Bear Plunge," explained Vicki M. Littman, Chairperson of the East Hampton Food Pantry. "It not only raises money that the food pantries all rely on to help us get through the winter months, it also shows the support of our community as more than 400 people plunge into the cold water to help those in need as hundreds of spectators watch."

The Pantry's goal is to "address hunger in the town of East Hampton" through "maintaining a center for food collection, storage and distribution, to reach out to those in need, to raise public awareness and to encourage and solicit support from individuals, businesses, fraternal and philanthropic organizations, religious institutions and the like, through volunteerism and donations of food and/or funds." So far, in 2017 (excluding December), the Pantry has served 5,546 adults, 3,599 children, 3,993 seniors, 13,138 individuals, and 5,749 households. For more information, visit easthamptonfoodpantry.org.

"We are thankful to Mayor Rickenbach for his continued support of this event and to EH Ocean Rescue, EH Hurricane Swim Team & The YMCA for organizing this successful fundraiser," Littman added. "Each year we all take the plunge into the cold water and the feeling of helping those in need warms all of our hearts as we do it. We all are 'freezin for a reason,' which has become our slogan."

For those not in the Hamptons the weekend of the Polar Bear Plunge, make sure to catch the action live on the Hamptons.com Main Beach Camera.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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