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Cold for a Cause kicks off today at noon; Harrell, Antoine to spend 24 hours each in crane

By Kristin Fox

It’s that time of year again for the crane to go up in the air and stay suspended for the weekend in an effort to raise much-needed donations for Macon County Care Network. This weekend marks the 14th year, Cold for a Cause will be held to raise donations and awareness for CareNet.

Cold for a Cause is an annual community event held to collect warm coats, winter clothing, blankets, nonperishable food items and cash donations for CareNet to help those in need in Macon County. Each year more than 6,000 pieces of clothing and blankets, and up to 10,000 pounds of food and personal care products have been donated during the event. 

“This event is so important for CareNet and the community,” said CareNet board member Ashley Hyder. “We have a lot of people who need these items; this event has helped so many over the years, and I hope it continues. CareNet supports thousands of people in our community.”

“We need warm clothes and canned goods to give to people who are in a crisis situation,” she added. “All of us have a coat that we don’t wear anymore, someone in need could use it.”

The event will be held from noon on Friday, January 20th through noon on Sunday, January 22nd at the Franklin Plaza, in front of Dalton’s Christian Book Store, on the Georgia Road.

Newly elected county commissioner and CareNet board member Danny Antoine and realtor Evan Harrell will donate their time to take a turn in the crane. Antoine will be the first person to go into the crane at noon on Friday and will come down at noon on Saturday. On Saturday, Harrell will take over and remain in the crane until noon on Sunday. Both will brave the cold and winter elements to remain in the crane overnight.

“I am a little nervous about being confined to that little space for that long of a period, but I am happy to do my part,” said Harrell. “Every single one of us doesn’t need to sit in a box to bring awareness. I’ll do that, you just rally together gathering coats, blankets, non-perishables and stop by to see me when you drop them off. Let’s fill the truck.”

The community event would not be possible without the help of Josh Young, also a county commissioner, sponsoring the crane for the event, Cary Patton providing a tent and power courtesy of Advance Auto. Many volunteers will be on the ground collecting donations for cause.

This year, the event will feature an online auction with items donated from local businesses to raise additional funds for CareNet. The online auction includes a $250 gift certificate to Appalachian Ace Hardware donated by Van’s Electric; $250 gift certificate to Outdoor 76 donated by RE/MAX Elite; Lazy Hiker basket; and gift certificate for a professional makeup lesson, bareMinerals products, makeup bag and hair wrap donated by Spa Siobhan. 

Visit the CareNet website at for more information and to see auction items. Bids for the online auction can be emailed to Bids must be submitted by the deadline of noon on January 27, 2023. 

Cold for a Cause was started by Patrick Jenkins in 2009 as a way to give back to the community and help needy families in the area. For 10 years, Jenkins partnered with J.R. Sanders Company, who provided the crane, to hold the event every January at Farm Bureau. Jenkins braved the winter elements which varied from year to year from freezing cold temperatures to rain and snow to spend 48 hours in the bucket of the crane to raise donations for CareNet. Since then the event has been run by CareNet with the help of volunteers, churches, and other community organizations.

“CareNet is an incredible organization, added Harrell. “They do a wonderful job providing backpack meals and food donations to those in our community,” said Harrell. “At least 800 bags of food are sent home each week in backpacks so that food-insecure school children will be able to eat over the weekend.”

“Events like Cold for a Cause bring awareness to the needs right here in our community and also provide ways for us to come together and help,” he added “They don’t just highlight the problems but provide help and resources.”

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