Alton ( KSDK ) -- Local pet lovers took part Tuesday in the 3rd annual New Year's Day Polar Plunge at Gordon Moore Park in Alton, Illinois.

The Freezin' for a Reason event raises money for the Hope Rescues animal shelter. Hope Rescues is a non-profit, no-kill shelterwhich rescues pets from abusive homes and other shelters that would euthanize the pets if they were not adopted. Begun by Jackie Spiker and Kim Lee in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the organization gives pets a second chance at happy lives with loving families.

"It costs about $4,000 per month just to run the facility," said Jackie Spiker. "We have pledge forms and the idea is you go around to your family and friends and get them to pay you to be crazy and jump in the water."

Polar Plunge organizers Alison Dreith and Trisha Cruz came up with the idea three years ago after attending a similar event in Chicago. The past two years, the event has raised about $7,000.00. Cruz says the money raised goes to bedding, food and medical care for the rescued animals. Tuesday's event raised an additional $5,146.00.

"Awful, freezing, ridiculously cold, you can't breath when you jump in (but) it's for the animals" says Chris Foxall, a three-year participant. "I am crazy, this is really dumb" said a first time participant. About 100 on-lookers agreed with him, but they all said it was for a good cause.

To donate or learn more about Hope Rescues contact them at 618-979-1908 or visit their web site at

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