The Atlantic Plunge, held annually at Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk to benefit Caring Unlimited, is scheduled for Jan. 4. Registration is at 10:15 a.m.; the plunge takes place at 11 a.m. Ed Pierce/ Journal Tribune File Photo

KENNEBUNK — Nineteen years ago, people started running into the frigid Atlantic Ocean at the beginning of the new year to help an agency that assists people who have been abused by a loved one.

This year, the Atlantic Plunge takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4. The event will be held at Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk.

The annual event helps Caring Unlimited, York County’s domestic violence resource center, and is one of the agency’s major annual fundraisers.

Organizers say all money raised through registration, pledges, and donations helps sustain Caring Unlimited’s programs and services.

Funds raised at the Atlantic Plunge helps Caring Unlimited to continue to provide services like their 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, support and education groups, legal advocacy, school-based education and advocacy and community education and training.

They say those who take the Atlantic Plunge are ‘freezin’ for a reason.’

People may register online by going to: https://www.caring-unlimited.org/ and following the links. Registration onsite at Gooch’s Beach on plunge day begins at 10:15 a.m. Registration is $25.

First organized by a volunteer on New Year’s Day 2001, the Atlantic Plunge has grown to become a sustaining source for the programs and services offered by Caring Unlimited, which serves 3,000 people annually.

Caring Unlimited plans to have a school bus at the site, with the heater running, so those who have to park and walk can stay warm until plunge time. Organizers say plungers can leave some dry items on the bus so they will be warn and toasty after the plunge. As well, they recommend that plungers wear shoes or socks that will come off easily after the plunge, to help keep feet comfortable and safe while running in and out of the water.

The biggest prize — a $250 L.L. Bean gift card — will be announced at 11:15 a.m.

If there’s a storm, the plunge will be held Jan. 11.

The lead sponsor for the event is Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

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