Area volunteers will take a dip in icy water on Saturday in an effort to raise money for kids in need.
To raise money for the Mulberry Police Department’s Christmas With a Badge - formerly called Shop with a Cop - volunteers will jump in the waters at Bluff Hole Park on Saturday at the Mulberry Polar Plunge.
Area residents and local law enforcement brave the cold water each year to help provide Christmas for children in need. Participants raise money for the event by gathering pledges.
Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory, one of several who participate yearly, said he is not sure how the fundraiser began.
“They did it for several years before I came,” said Gregory, who was named chief in December 2012. “We just continued the tradition. It’s one of our biggest fundraisers.”
Last year, Mulberry Polar Plunge raise about $3,000 for the police charity, Gregory said.
Each year, the goal of Mulberry’s program is to provide at least $100 for each child a family signs up to spend for Christmas, Gregory said.
Volunteers take the families shopping a few days before Christmas and help them to choose necessities, toys and other items the children and teens want, he said. Mulberry’s is one of several such area events.
“It’s really shocking, because a lot of these kids don’t have anything to call their own,” Gregory said. “You’d think they would want to go straight to the toy aisle and get the latest toy, but most of them are more worried about getting a present for their brother or sister, or mama and daddy - it’s really selfless.”
“It’s really more of a blessing for us than it is to them, to get to see love in its true form,” Gregory added.
With the help of area business and individual donations, and fundraisers such as the polar plunge, the police department was able to help 111 area kids last year, Gregory said.
Christmas with a Badge also will give away about 60 Christmas dinners this year, Gregory said. The dinners include a whole turkey and sides to feed four to six people, he said.
To participate in fundraising events, or to sign up for the Christmas with a Badge program or free Christmas dinner, contact the Mulberry City Complex at (479) 997-1321.