The goal of the 11th annual Swim with Fish charity fundraiser this year was to raise $16,000 for the Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank during the July 30 event.
The event’s organizer, Steve Rees, and 19 other participants didn’t just meet the goal — they shattered it.
By the latest count on Tuesday, the event raised $20,584 this year. Not bad for an event that started out as a modest wager between friends and turned into a charity event five years ago.
The timed event, which is a private, one-mile swim, launches out of the shores of Vashon Island and across the Colvos Passage.
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“It went excellent,” Rees said. “It couldn’t have been better. We had really nice attendance. The weather was good, the water was fairly calm and we had a nice reception from friends and family on the other side.”
The winner, for the second straight year, was Jeff Sala, who clocked in at 25 minutes, 28 seconds. The event also includes a kid’s swim, a potluck and some live music at the end of the swim.
But the biggest victory was for charity, and for local families in need. This year’s $20,584 is by far the most the event has raised. Last year’s total was just over $15,000.
“It was well above our expectation,” Rees said. “I’m thinking we should start setting our goal a little higher now. It was pretty exciting.”
The summer months tend to be low on inventory for food banks, with food drives and donations most frequent in the cold winter months and holiday season.
“(The food bank is) quite thrilled,” Rees said. “They said this donation would positively affect $1,000 families for three months — it’ll feed a lot of families.”
Kudos to Rees and everyone involved for taking a fun wager between friends and turning it into such a successful charity event. Seeing tangible results benefitting a local charity organization and local families is a positive for everyone involved.