UNION COUNTY — Local residents have participated in a widespread social media trend that helps people cool off in hot temperature while raising money for charity.
The “Cold Water Challenge” has spread throughout Union County in the past couple weeks, as local Facebook users have posted videos of themselves and loved ones being doused with coolers and buckets full of ice cold water. When someone is issued the “cold water challenge,” they are required to be drenched in cold water, and then donate $10 to the charity of their choice. If the recipient of the challenge refuses, they are then required to pay a larger amount ($50 in most cases) to the charity of the challenger’s choice.
Although the origin of the Cold Water Challenge remains a mystery, many online articles point to various emergency personnel who initiated challenges across the nation. Allen Petty, of the Cross Keys Fire Department, said he was challenged by his cousin in Gastonia, who is a firefighter with her local fire department. Petty donated to the Putman Faith Fund. He said there were three other members of the Cross Keys Fire Department the same day he was challenged.
As Union County residents continued to take the challenge and challenge others, Facebook was flooded with videos of people shocking themselves with icy water in the name of charity.
Becca Morrow and her mother, Jo Anne Lipscomb, took the challenge together. Morrow was challenged by her friend Gina Gregory, and Morrow challenged Lipscomb.
“She (Lipscomb) accepted my challenge, and we decided to do ours together,” Morrow said. “It was cold, of course, but fun!”
Morrow donated to the Haitian Mission, and Lipscomb donated to The Miracle League of Union County (MLUC).
Many people chose The MLUC as their charity for the challenge. Amy Austin, chair of the MLUC board of directors, reported on Friday that the MLUC had received over $500 in Cold Water Challenge donations just last week, and that amount has continued to grow this week.
Others — such as Stacy and “Wahoo” Gibson, who were challenged by Marie Rhinehart — chose to decline the challenge. In turn, Stacy donated $50 to the Children’s Miracle Network, while Wahoo donated $50 to the MLUC.
Jean Harris reported that a total of 14 Cold Water Challenges had been completed at her home.
“I could not tell you where it all began, but it has really taken off,” Morrow said. “It is just really nice to see people being thoughtful and giving.”
Those who continue to take or issue the Cold Water Challenge via video on Facebook are encouraged to post their videos to The Union Daily Times’ Facebook page.