Leapers and spectators didn’t let the 34-degree temperatures stop them from gathering on the shores of the Lake Hopatcong State Park for the eleventh annual Leap in the Lake.

Organized by the Lake Hopatcong Elks #782 and committee Chairman Rick Gathen, the Leap in the Lake features brave swimmers leaping--literally-- into Lake Hopatcong to raise money for various charities.

It succeeds at the hands of approximately 60 volunteers and has raised close to a $600,000 to date.

There was excitement in the air when it was announced that this year’s fundraising efforts exceeded expectations and hit the $60,000 mark.

Four hundred leapers took the plunge at this year's event, many in team uniforms or costumes.

Local businesses sponsored many of the teams who have been raising funds all year.

The money goes to support area special needs children. The Elks use the funds to send children to camp; hold special events such as back-to-school bonfires with backpacks full of supplies for the children, sensory-friendly breakfast with Santa, Trunk or Treat, Easter and Christmas parties; and provide equipment such as tablets, wheelchairs, and lifts, all with the mission of bringing joy to the children and comfort to the parents.

Leapers and spectators were invited to thaw out at the Post Leap Party at the Lake Hopatcong Elks #782 lodge featuring food, music, raffles, and giveaways.

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