Just the Facts

Cold temperatures define annual Cold for a Cause event

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Deena Bouknight

“We know how to predict the weather because Cold for a Cause seems to always be the coldest weekend of the year,” quipped Tim Hogsed, executive director of Macon County CareNet. “And this one was definitely the coldest it’s ever been.”

Indeed, temperatures plummeted as the week of Jan. 15 ended and consistent snow flurries blew around Macon County throughout the day on Friday, Jan. 19. On Friday afternoon, Town of Franklin Police Chief Devin Holland climbed into a crane bucket donated by Young Tree Service and was hoisted into the air, high above Franklin Plaza. Young Tree Service is owned and operated by Macon County Commissioner Josh Young. Chief Holland began his 24 hours of volunteering to stay in the crane bucket, while donations of blankets, coats, food, and money were brought to Franklin Plaza to be placed in CareNet bins and trucks.

By the time early Saturday morning arrived, Jan. 20, temperatures were below 10 degrees. Macon County Sheriff Brent Holbrooks took Chief Holland’s place around midday on Saturday, and he endured an even colder evening, with temperatures dropping to zero by early Sunday morning, Jan. 21.

SHERIFF BRENT Holbrooks waves to passersby as he endured frigid temperatures for 24 hours during his volunteer stint for Cold for a Cause. Franklin Police Chief Devin Holland spent the prior 24 hours suspended in the crane bucket, specially built for the event.

In fact, when Sheriff Holbrooks was asked on Saturday afternoon about his experience up in the crane’s bucket, he shouted down a simple and obvious answer: “It’s cold!”

Chief Holland was a little more effusive, as he reflected on the event a few days afterwards and from the warmth of his office.

“The Cold for a Cause event was a fun and challenging time. I was, of course, cold, but it was tolerable. The warmest it got inside the box was about 38 degrees. Outside the box the coldest was 10 degrees, with a lower windchill factor. I only came down from the crane suspension twice for about 10 minutes each during the 24-hour period,” said Holland.

“Devin and Brent donated their time with a smile on their faces,” said Hogsed. “They love our community; they love our county. I appreciate them so much.”

This year was the 15th for Cold for a Cause, and Hogsed pointed out that the event is truly a representation of Macon County’s leadership and citizen involvement.

“So many people volunteered and came out to bring items, even with the cold temperatures; the turnout was great,” said Hogsed. “I had to make a few trips to bring more bins because so many people donated. We got more blankets and coats this year, but we also received financial support in the amount of $3,300. It was a good year.”

MOTIVATED BY historically cold temperatures, many people donated coats and blankets.

Hogsed explained that Cold for a Cause is an annual Macon County CareNet-hosted event that is “a community event to bring awareness to people who are homeless, who don’t have adequate heat and clothing, who need food … CareNet has been helping people with food needs for over 30 years. We are here not just in the cold months, but all year-round for anyone who is in a crisis. And that can happen to anyone in any season. Especially with the rise in fuel, food, and rent costs, which have been through the roof in recent years; many people are having a hard time making it.

“We don’t ask any questions regarding finances. As long as ‘clients’ are Macon County residents, they can get food from us. We don’t ask those questions because someone who is having a tough time just needs help. And food and supplies often help them get back on their feet,” explained Hogsed.

CareNet volunteers at the organization’s headquarters on Bidwell Street in Franklin began giving out the donated blankets, coats, and food the week following Cold for Cause.

Hogsed stressed the importance of volunteers to make Cold for a Cause a success.

YOUTH FROM First United Methodist and Prentiss Church volunteered their time during the Jan. 19-21 Cold for a Cause.

“Brent and Devin … Josh Young for the crane, Carey Patton (Tent Master) for donating the tent, Franklin Plaza for the space. And Evan Harrell, a realtor, and Jeff Parrish, with Duke Energy, who was also a former board member of CareNet, helped me out tremendously to make setting up and tearing down very smooth. Without those guys, and all the volunteers, Cold for a Cause wouldn’t have happened.”

Besides the many individual volunteers, Hogsed noted that 828Vets’ volunteers assisted during the frigid morning of Sunday, Jan. 21, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., while over the Cold for a Cause weekend many adult members and youth from both First United Methodist Church and Prentiss Church took donations and packed them in bins.

“And of course, Patrick Jenkins (NC Farm Bureau) who started this event, always comes out to kick it off,” said Hogsed. “All in all, it was a good weekend – a cold weekend – but very appreciative of all who made it a success.”

In the coming weeks, Hogsed will meet with Chief Holland and Sheriff Holbrooks to determine who the brave bucket crane nominees will be for the 2025 Cold for a Cause.