The fourth annual Jump in the Lake challenge May 6 was “an overwhelming success” and raised more than $25,000 for food banks in Coboconk and Haliburton County, organizer Dean Michel said.

Unlike other organized polar bear dips, participants jumped into the frigid early May waters from their own docks or local piers.

Michel said a few hundred generous donors helped 35 participants raise the much-needed funds.

This year’s Jump in the Lake Challenge will have a significant, positive impact on the Coboconk and Area Foodbank (CAFB) for the next whole year,” said CAFB chairperson Amy Alfredsson. “With more than $16,000 in cash donations collected and more still coming in, the challenge has provided the funds to pay for all of the food bank’s meat purchases over the next 12 months.”

Alfredsson, who jumped into Balsam Lake, added the food bank would not exist without generous community support.

“As a privately-funded, fully volunteer-run food bank, these donations are both welcome and needed at a time when food insecurity and food costs are at their highest.”

Meanwhile, $3,015 was raised for the Minden Community Food Centre and another $3,015 for the Central Food Network (CFN).

CFN’s Tina Jackson said, “this event was a cool one and all participants we’ve chatted with had a blast. We look forward to making this an annual event to help bring people together to have some fun for a worthy cause.”

Jackson added, “food banks in Haliburton County do not receive regular government funding. The majority of our donations come through during the December holiday season – but hunger happens year round. Events such as the Jump in the Lake raise critical funds at a critical time to help keep shelves stocked.”

In four years, the annual challenge has raised more than $150,000 for the community.

“We continue to be amazed how our community has embraced what has now become a fun, annual event,” Michel said.

“When you combine brave individuals and generous donors, good things happen to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Save the date for the fifth annual challenge: Saturday, May 4, 2024.