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Polar Plunge to take annual dip Saturday

In 2010, 130 jumpers plunged into the hole cut in Lake Bemidji ice to raise $10,000 for the local Special Olympics.

This year the beneficiaries will be the Bemidji Community Food Shelf and the Soup Kitchen.

The Bemidji Jaycees Polar Plunge will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, off shore near Paul and Babe, with registration beginning at 10 a.m.

The cost to jump is $30. Plungers who raise $50 will get a souvenir T-shirt. Plungers who raise $150 also get a sweatshirt.

Registration forms are available at the Bemidji Tourist Information Center and at the offices of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, but can also be filled out the day of the event.

Plungers and spectators are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food the Polar Plunge organizers will deliver to the Food Shelf following the event.

To avoid registration lines, plungers can e-mail

Plungers can raise money from friends, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, working associates and relatives. Companies also are encouraged to put together a team of their own to raise money

The Jaycees are looking for sponsors, plungers and teams of plungers

Sponsorship levels are $100, $250, and $500

Sam and Caren Smith are the chairs of the event.

The Smiths have a friend who works with the Soup Kitchen and reported a big increase in guests coming in for supper.

"We just felt that this year in particular with times being hard they've had more use this year and demand is high, and there's nothing like feeding people," Sam Smith said.

He said he hopes the Polar Plunge raises even more money than last year, and proceeds will be split evenly between the Food Shelf and Soup Kitchen.