By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — A record number of participants — 415 — jumped into the Atlantic Ocean Sunday for a polar plunge raising money for the North Shore Community Development Coalition.
The annual event, held at Lynch Park in Beverly and Winter Island in Salem, raises money for North Shore CDC, a regional affordable-housing agency, and River House, a Beverly nonprofit that provides transitional shelter for the homeless.
This year, plungers raised more than $33,000.
Ayers Elementary School in Beverly and Salem’s Saltonstall and Bates schools took the Big Splash Award and Plunge Cup, trophies for schools that have the highest participation or collect the most pledge donations.
Other top fundraisers were David Mourer of the Second Congregational Church in Beverly, Dane Poeske of Ayers Elementary School in Beverly, Michelle Paige of Bates Elementary School in Salem, Courtney Cook of Ayers Elementary and Lydia Saltzman of Briscoe Middle School in Beverly.
“Engaging hundreds of residents, including children, within the communities we serve through the polar plunge is the greatest success of this event,” said executive director Mickey Northcutt.