Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
According to the National Weather Service, “An unseasonably strong storm system by January standards impacted the region Jan. 10-11, 2020. Heavy rainfall, flooding, damaging winds, and gusty non-thunderstorm winds impacted the region during this time. The bulk of the event occurred overnight and into the morning hours on the 11th. Rainfall totals ranged from 2 to 5 inches, which resulted in widespread areal flooding and flash flooding across the region.”
In spite of the weather, Cold for a Cause, an effort to encourage as many donations of food, personal care items, blankets, coats, and more within a 72-hour period, was a success.
Tim Hogsed, CareNet’s executive director, who is also youth pastor of Pine Grove Baptist Church, was one of three volunteers who spent 24 hours each in the 2-foot by 6-foot crane bucket suspended 40 feet in the air that was provided by Joe Sanders, owner of J.R. Sanders Company. The other two bucket inhabitants were Ben Windle of Discover Church and David Beam of First United Methodist Church. Windle told attendees to services on Sunday, Jan. 12, that although cramped and wet, the experience was worth it “to bring people out to donate and fill trucks with needed items for people in Macon County.”
At least 30 volunteers also donned rain jackets and withstood high winds under a tent next to the CareNet donation truck. Volunteers gathered donated items as people drove up to the site of the Cold for a Cause crane, which was parked in a vacant lot next to Bojangles in Franklin.
“They were all in good spirits,” said Hogsed. “I can’t thank the volunteers enough … or Joe Sanders enough for donating his crane and his time. He was so easy to work with and was there to do whatever we needed him to do. So many people to thank … like those at Bojangles and Haywood Smoke House. Macon Funeral Home donated a tent to keep volunteers dry. Jeff Parrish with Duke Energy came up with the canopy on the crane bucket to keep the rain from completely soaking the pastors up there. Lights were set up. So many people made this happen.”
When the weather became particularly “dicey” on Saturday evening, Hogsed said, “We got David out of the crane for a little bit, but he got right back up there when the storm slowed.”
Although the definitive numbers have not been determined regarding the amount of items donated Jan. 9-12, Hogsed offered, “We filled up one entire 14-foot box truck and have another one, a 16-footer, a quarter of the way filled. Being in a different location and having a slightly different format [due to 10-year Cold for Cause veteran Patrick Jenkins retiring], it was still a great success. That’s a good amount to help those in need in Macon County. It’s a great tradition … neighbors helping neighbors and it’s awesome to see. We look forward to having many more years doing this event.”
Hogsed added that the CareNet thrift store opened Friday, Jan. 10, at its new location at 45 Macon Center Drive, next to Discover Church. However, anyone who did not get a chance to donate during Cold for a Cause can drop off food and other times during normal business hours at CareNet’s main facility, at 130 Bidwell Street, Franklin.