Yoder’s flock up to plunge challenge for needy families

Conner McCabe (left), Walker Leas (right) and other participants in the Christmas in Our Town Polar Plunge react to the chilly water in the Markle Pool during the event on Saturday, Dec. 2. The event was a fund-raiser, with all proceeds going to families in need in the community.
Conner McCabe (left), Walker Leas (right) and other participants in the Christmas in Our Town Polar Plunge react to the chilly water in the Markle Pool during the event on Saturday, Dec. 2. The event was a fund-raiser, with all proceeds going to families in need in the community. Photo by Steve Clark.

Rev. Chad Yoder had a challenge for his congregation at Markle United Methodist Church.

The challenge? Raise $500 for needy families in the community and he would wear a Santa Claus suit when he jumped into the Markle Pool during the forthcoming Christmas in Our Town Polar Plunge.

Yoder’s congregation was up to the task – and when the pastor leapt into the chilly pool on Saturday, Dec. 2, he did so clad in Santa Claus’ iconic red and black attire.

For Yoder, the discomfort of emerging from the pool in an outfit soaked with cold water was worth it in order to generate funds for a worthy cause. The $500 raised by his church, along with Polar Plunge entry fees and general donations, will be donated to needy families in the community.

In the lead-up to Christmas in Our Town, Markle’s annual holiday celebration, Yoder was looking for a way to give back to the community through the event. “We knew there were some families in our community who had suffered some difficult stuff lately,” he says.

The method of raising funds for those families soon took the form of a leap into the frigid December water at the Markle Pool. It was an event, Yoder notes, that some Markle residents had expressed interest in seeing added to the Christmas in Our Town lineup for quite some time.

With the fund-raising method decided upon, the Markle Chamber of Commerce took charge of organizing the “Polar Plunge” and saw that commemorative T-shirts were printed up for the event’s brave participants. On the day of the event, lifeguard Steve Thomas and members of the Markle Fire Department were on hand to keep participants safe.

When all the participants had finished their plunges into the pool, a total of $2,017 had been raised for the families in need.

Even though the event ended with him shivering in a Santa outfit, Yoder couldn’t have been more pleased by how things turned out.

“It was a good way to give back,” he says, “and a fun way to get people involved in giving, too.”