Alton, Illinois: Local pet lovers are at the new Alton New Year’s tradition again: teaming up with the Hope Rescues Animal Shelter to raise money for homeless dogs by plunging into icy waters. The Polar Plunge will be held at the beach at Gordon Moore Park off Route 140 (College Avenue) on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Inspired by the success of the last two years, Alton natives Alison Dreith and Trisha Cruz have planned this event to be even bigger, and have set a goal to raise $5000. Earlier this year, 35 participants raised $4192 for Hope Rescues, which Dreith and Cruz are hoping to surpass. Those who are interested in taking the plunge with them can encourage others to donate to Hope Rescues in honor of their plan to plunge. People who are not interested in jumping in are welcome to watch the plunge, donate money, and cheer on these brave souls.

Kara Tesson, who will be a three time participant this year, says she braves the cold, because “Animals have become an irrefutable part of our daily lives.” And that, “Our responsibility, as their human companions, is to secure their welfare, by drawing attention to responsible and compassionate pet ownership. Hope Animal Rescue and the Alton Polar Plunge draw attention in our community, and I want to be a part of that.”

Hope Rescues is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter based in Alton, Illinois that rescues pets from both abusive homes and shelters that would euthanize these pets if they are not adopted. Begun by Kim Lee and Jackie Spiker in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this organization gives pets a second chance at happy lives with loving families.

Monetary donations to Hope Rescues may be made directly to the shelter via their website, or given to those involved in the plunge itself. If you plan on donating via the website, the organizers of this event ask that you include the word “plunge” in order to help them determine the amount they are able to raise.

Those who plan to attend on January 1st should arrive at 11:30 AM, as the plunge will take place at noon. To volunteer or donate, contact Hope Rescues at their website, http://www.hoperescues.com/ , via email at admin@hoperescues.com, or by phone at 618-979-1908. For more information on the Plunge, view its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/events/403051523101423/ or contact organizer Alison Dreith at alidreith@yahoo.com.

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