Written by Michael Rouleau
Willimantic, Conn. - On Feb. 1, students of Eastern Connecticut State University along with members of the local community jumped into the frigid waters of Lauter Park to raise money for the Covenant Soup Kitchen. Plunge for Hunger saw more than 200 participants and raised more than $5,000 for the soup kitchen, with donations are still being collected.
More than 40 Eastern students attended the event, but only 15 or so took the plunge. "Luckily it was a nice day," said Max Goto, AmeriCorps VISTA with Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, remarking on the event's sunny, 40 degree weather. "I wasn't planning to plunge, but some friends convinced me, so I undressed and jumped in and immediately regretted it. But upon getting out, the crowd was warm spirited and welcoming."
The Eastern crowd was chiefly represented by the baseball team, which raised more $900; the rugby team, which raised more than $2,200; and the Center for Community Engagement team, composed of Student Government Association (SGA) members and Resident Assistants. The ECSU Foundation also donated $1,500.
"Having helped promote the event, I would have felt like a hypocrite if I didn't jump in," said Meaghan McFall-Gorman, a freshman double majoring in English and political science. "It was a great experience, and rewarding to help the Covenant Soup Kitchen. I am dedicated to doing it again next year."
The Covenant Soup Kitchen in a fixture of the Willimantic community, providing invaluable food assistance to hundreds of individuals and families throughout the year.
"Usually when people tell you to jump in a lake, they are being rude," said Reuben Rivera, a freshman majoring in computer science. "Now, to me, 'go jump in a lake' means to do good. It means to try and make a difference. All in all, it was a good experience and I will be doing it next year."