Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

In the last week, REACH of Macon County has had a total of 19 shelter residents, 11 kids and 8 adults, all of which are from Macon County. Since January 1, REACH has had 30 shelter residents, 16 kids and 14 adults, for a total of 1,083 nights.

“Due to a significant increase in capacity, our shelter service numbers continue to grow,” said REACH Director Andrea Anderson. “With the addition of more people accessing the shelter, comes the increased need for more service contacts including crisis counseling and intervention, court advocacy, and wrap around services such as case management, goal setting, life and job skills, etc. Additionally, there is the continued need for basic items such as laundry pods, paper products, cleaning products, diapers, new linens, pillows, etc.”

With an increase in need, REACH of Macon County continues to raise funds throughout the year, with their next fundraiser scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Root + Barrel. The Mardi Gras themed party will feature a silent auction, buffet dinner, drinks, a live band, and even a palm and aura reader.

“Attendees will have the privilege of listening to a local Jazz Band from WCU with sounds from New Orleans,” said Anderson. “We will have a Kings Cake Cupcake Raffle with a prize for the individual who finds the baby. People can vote that night for the King and Queen Competition. Overall, a great evening filled with fantastic food, music, and fun – all to benefit a great cause.”

The event’s buffet menu features Mardi Gras favorites that stay true to authentic New Orleans flavor. The dinner also features a champagne toast, sangria, and local beer. The silent auction is another way for REACH to raise desperately needed funds and includes items such as an overnight stay and gift certificate package to Asheville, an outdoor adventure package, and a local pamper yourself package just to name a few.

Four teams will also be competing to be crowned the 2018 King and Queen of the party. Rick Westerman (executive director of Habitat for Humanity) and Jennifer Turner-Lynn (assistant director of REACH), as the reigning 2017 King and Queen, will be on hand to crown the new winners.

“The King and Queen contest allows supporters to have an active role in helping raise money for REACH, but have a lot of fun in the process,” said Anderson. “Each dollar raised by the teams will count as a ‘vote’ for that team. The teams engaged in this competition are strong philanthropists within our community who care about supporting the mission of REACH.”

Meet the Teams: 

Everett & Kathryn Wright have always had a flair for the dramatic, so naturally, their love story began as a “Guy” and a “Doll” performing on the big stage right here in Franklin’s Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. They decided to live happily ever after and are now the proud parents to Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School kindergartner, Aria, and 3-year old son, Atticus. Along with acting, Everett enjoys Saturday morning street hockey, soccer on Sundays, and epic light saber battles with his children. On weekdays, you can find Everett working the family business as a foreman for Coppage Construction in Highlands. Kathryn stays busy as a Stella & Dot Stylist and Household CEO. She has a Masters in Make Believe and a PhD in Patience. (Comes with the territory of being a Stay at Home Mom) She enjoys fashion, photography, date nights, and of course, Georgia football. Over 15 years of working with youth camps, nonprofits, and churches, Everett and Kathryn developed a common passion for charitable work. REACH supports a cause that is very personal to each of them and it is an honor to bring awareness and financial support to the women, children, and families in need in Macon County.

Brett and Brittany Murphy have been partners in crime for 13 years… or so she claims, Brett says he had his eye on her long before that. But in keeping with her story, they met at Auburn University shortly before Brett moved to Franklin to pursue his dream of building beautiful homes. He is the owner of Arrowood Construction. Brittany, owner/partner at Blush, joined him one year later and can occasionally be seen at local grocery stores dressed in full on glam. Both Brett and Brittany are active members in their community. Brett currently serves on the Economic Development Council and Brittany volunteers her time as an advocate for Angel Medical Center. In keeping with their passion for their community, they are investors at the Lazy Hiker and The Root + Barrel Kitchen. The Murphy’s have two children, Owen (9) and Ryder (6) who inspire them each and every day. If they are not at home building LEGO’s with their kiddos or working, you can usually find them at The Root + Barrel Kitchen eating, drinking and enjoying time with friends.

June Hernandez and Brad Henry. Hernandez moved to Franklin in 1998. She owned and operated Primrose Lane gift shop on Main Street for 13 years. Over this period of time, she was active in many community projects for the Streets of Franklin Merchants Association. In 2014, she joined the REACH for Bargains thrift store as manager. Her retail and merchandising experience has helped bring the thrift shop into the 21st century. Henry is a 25-year resident of Franklin. As accomplished chef and interior designer with over 30 years of experience in retail merchandizing, he joined the REACH for Bargains team in September 2015 and was quickly promoted to assistant manager. His attention to detail and window dressing experience has proved very beneficial to the overall REACH shopping.

Dawn and Sherry Spivey. Still enjoying the newlywed bliss of being married in November of 2017, Dawn and Sherry Spivey are enjoying life together with friends and family. Dawn is a native of Franklin, while Sherry is originally from St. Pete, Fla. Although originally from Florida, Sherry has worked and raised her two girls in the Sky Valley area for the last 20 years. Sherry has spent most of her time in the service industry while raising her children and is currently employed at the Root and Barrel. Dawn and her family are from the Franklin area. She has worked for many local businesses and is currently the finance manager at Smoky Mountain Dodge Jeep RAM. These two have shared a friendship for many years and enjoy spending time on the weekends camping and enjoying the water. They both love to travel and are looking forward to spending their married life in this area.

If you have questions about how you can support REACH including attending the event, donating silent auction items, and/or purchasing and ad for the event program, call (828)369-5544 or email . Mardi Gras tickets can be purchased online at