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Ground Hoggy Doggy Shadow Splash to returnTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Bulletin file photo
Splashers from past years
Photo by Bulletin file photo

For the 15th consecutive year, a handful of brave souls will jump into the bitter cold South Platte River on the Friday before Groundhog Day.

Organizers announced Tuesday that the Ground Hoggy Doggy Shadow Splash will return at a 3 p.m. dip in the river on Feb. 1 to raise money for hungry schoolkids.

“Even when we didn’t have the big event, we still jumped in,” says co-organizer Russ Jones. “We decided to bring it back and try to use the event to raise funds and awareness for a great cause.”

This year’s theme, “Drowning Childhood Hunger,” reflects the charity chosen to benefit from the jumpers -- the Adopt-a-Backpack program.

"Adopt a Backpack is a partnership between several agencies that provides a backpack full of food to keep hungry children fed during school year weekends when students have no access to school lunch,” co-organizer Jim Paloucek said. “If these kids don’t get this assistance, they come back to school on Monday hungry and not ready to learn. This program fills that need.”

Funding for the backpack program has largely come from grants, which don’t fully fill the need. Currently 120 packs are furnished every week, but the need is greater, according to the agencies involved.

Money generated by jumpers will be given to the North Platte Public Schools Foundation, which will provide those funds to directly benefit those hungry children who need it most.

The Splash has raised nearly $200,000 since its inception in 1999. To date, those funds have all gone to the Lincoln Connection Homeless Shelter.

“We will always have a soft spot in our heart for the Shelter, but we wanted to highlight and support some of the other great things going on in the community,” co-organizer David Fudge said.

As always, participants are asked to raise at least $100 and bring it with them to the Splash on Feb. 1. Costumes are encouraged, and the infamous costume parade will begin at around 2:30 p.m.

All checks should be made to the North Platte Public Schools Foundation.

Updates on the Splash and participant count can be found on the Splash’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GroundHoggyDoggyShadowSplash.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 12/12/2012
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