Community members take part in Cedar Lake polar plunge for charity


DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) — A Deep River salon owner wanted to help hungry families this holiday season and made it happen this weekend with a polar plunge in Cedar Lake.

Last year’s plunge was a solo affair for organizer Leah Kisselbrack, but this year, she and other community members took to the lake for a chilly dive — all to help local organizations. The event kicked off this afternoon at 1 p.m.

“I’m super excited already, and I know that people are going to keep strolling in,” Kisslebrack told WTNH’s Sarah Cody at the event. “People are buying prize tickets, so that’s the whole goal, raise more money, feed some people, and then we’re going to jump in the water!”

She noted that this year, they received a 25% match from Rotary, including Chester Rotary and Liberty Bank.

Kisselbrack, owner of Leah’s Bella Vita salon, first created the polar plunge event on Facebook last year to gauge interest. She said the idea took off fast, and soon enough, people were strolling into her shop with money and checks. However, due to COVID, she ended up taking the dive alone in the chilly November weather.

In 2020, raised nearly $13,000 with the help of a local rotary and bank. Funds helped benefit organizations including the East Haddam Food Bank and Killingworth’s Helping Hands.

You can learn more about Kisselbrack’s efforts to help her community during the pandemic via WTNH’s Connecticut Families story here.

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