Not all New Yorkers will bundle up at home when the arctic blast hits the city this weekend. Some of them – the New York City “Polar Bears” – will plunge into the icy waters like they do every weekend.
But last Saturday, a group of winter swimming professionals, amateurs and Polar Bears gathered at Orchard Beach in the Bronx for something special: to participate in the 2016 Polar Bear Plunge Against Homelessness event co-organized by BronxNet and BronxWorks.
Participants also brought socks, gloves, scarves and other clothing items for donation to the homeless services program at BronxWorks. Warm chicken soup and sizzling hot chocolate were served to the shivering swimmers who had braved the extreme coldness of the water.
“For the extreme cold that we will feel for the few seconds that we are in the water pales in comparison to the cold that the homeless feel when they sleep out on the streets in New York City all winter long,” said Eileen Torres, the executive director of BronxWorks.