On Saturday, December 17th, a group of extremely brave swimmers swam around the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf in water ranging from 50-51º to raise funds for Second Harvest’s Holiday Food Drive. Each of the twenty swimmers committed to raising $300 each with an event goal of reaching $10,000. They ended up raising over $17,000. Since Second Harvest can provide four meals for every dollar, that will provide 69,468 meals!
Event coordinator, Nick Alaga, who works at Plantronics, dreamt up “Will Swim for Food” in 2010. He had just four friends join him for the frigid dip, and a few people cheering them on from the shore. This year, there were more swimmers, a huge crowd of onlookers and even some bagpipers leading the swimmers into the water.
In a post-event email on Sunday, Nick described his feelings. “From the minute I arrived yesterday morning I was overwhelmed. I did everything I could to stop and try to take it all in, but everywhere I turned was a sensory overload of happiness, warmth, giving, and willingness to help in any manner possible to make this special. Family, co-workers, volunteers, bagpipers, Coast Guard, cameras, smiles, laughter, introductions, ducks, hugs, lots and lots of hugs, and clear skies with glassy water.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in the event and to everyone who made a donation. “Will Swim for Food” brings the community together and showcases the natural beauty of Santa Cruz in a really exceptional way.