Politician pool plunge raises over $10k for Thames Centre Food Bank

Middlesex County Warden Cathy Burghardt-Jesson, Deputy Mayor Kelly Elliott, Thames Centre Mayor Alison Warwick, and Coun. Tom Heeman prepare to jump into the newly renovated Dorchester community pool to raise money for the Thames Centre Food Bank on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Thames Centre

With the season of giving fast approaching, elected officials in Thames Centre “took the plunge” to raise funds for the local food bank.

Middlesex County Warden Cathy Burghardt-Jesson was joined by several others for a “polar bear dip” on Thursday to collect donations for the Thames Centre Food Bank.

Read more: London Food Bank’s Thanksgiving food drive goes virtual this year

Dozens of people watched the politicians jump into the frigid waters of the newly renovated Dorchester Community Pool, which Burghardt-Jesson admits was no easy feat.

“I could feel my body tighten right up. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before.”

Deputy Mayor Kelly Elliott said the idea came from a challenge issued to Elliott and Thames Centre Mayor Alison Warwick by a resident as the pair celebrated the newly completed renovations at the community pool.

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They set an initial fundraising goal of $1,000 but they surpassed that within six hours.

“And so we thought, ‘Oh no, in order to raise more money, we’re going to have to bring more people in,’ and so that’s when we reached out to Cathy … as well as one of our councillors here in Thames Centre, Tom Heeman,” Elliott said.

The group ended up raising $10,000 in donations for the food bank, which has seen an increase in demand amid the pandemic.

Read more: More families relying on London Food Bank amid COVID-19

“The Thames Centre Food Bank assists on average about 35 families every month,” Elliott said.

Donations are still being accepted here.

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