By Tia Lynn Ivey, Managing Editor
Every Sunday, Lenita Franklin would fire up the stove and prepare a decadent feast for her family, friends, and anyone who wanted to eat a hot, home-cooked meal. “It was my favorite,” said Franklin, a Bostwick woman who lost her home of 33-years to a house fire last month. Lenita’s beloved Sunday dinner tradition has been put on hold, as she is now living with relatives and waiting for her house to be rebuilt.
A benefit concert is slated for Friday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the James Madison Inn Conference Room, with all proceeds going to Lenita Franklin. Musician Rufus Hope Jr. has organized the event, hoping people will come out to dance and support a “great woman” in her time of need. Hope’s band, ‘the Bad Boyz of Funk: The Second 2 None Band” will provide music for benefit. There’s $10 admission at the door, but attendees are welcome to donate more at the event. Event is for adults only.
“I didn’t even hesitate to do this,” said Hope. “Lenita is one of my oldest friends, there’s not a lot of people like her.”
Franklin, known for her generosity, faith, and volunteerism in the community, has suffered serious loss in the last three years.
“In 2017, I lost my husband of 37 years. In 2018, my father died, too. Now, this is what 2019 brought,” lamented Franklin.
Franklin’s Bostwick house on Peppers Road went up in flames, taking 28 Morgan County firefighters and seven firefighters from Walton County to extinguish.
“It was a total loss,” said Morgan County Fire Chief Jeff Stone. According to Stone, the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.
Franklin lost her home and all of her belongings in the fire.
When Franklin learned the tragic news, she was distraught.
“I am such an independent person, but I thought to myself, ‘how am I going to get through this alone?’” remembered Franklin.
But then something astounding happen. Family, friends, community members and churches rallied together to make sure Franklin has everything she in needs while she waits to rebuild.
“I now realize that I have true friends,” said Franklin. “These people have thought of everything, big and small, right down to socks for my feet.”
After the fire, Franklin checked into the Holiday Inn in Madison, worrying about what to do next. As word spread of what happened to Franklin’s home, people began spearheading efforts to help.
“I couldn’t believe how fast it was,” said Franklin. “That very next morning there were bags of donations at the front desk of the Holiday Inn waiting for me that people dropped off! It was incredible.”
Ann Ballard, a friend of Franklin’s, started a GoFundMe page for her, raising over $2,000.
“This young lady along with her husband who is now deceased has fed thousands, whether it was at her home or at another facility,” wrote Ballard. “This is an urgent outreach request so please consider supporting Lenita. We wouldn’t have submitted this ‘Go Fund Me’ page, if it were not extremely necessary. Therefore, listen to your heart and if it tells you to support this cause, whatsoever you are willing to donate will be greatly appreciated.”
Donations and supplies and acts of service have been arranged by various churches including True Life Ministries in Monroe, Ga. Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Bostwick, Low Moses Chapel,
Springfield Baptist Church on Bethany Road, Calvary Baptist Church in Madison, Hoke Smith
Macedonia in Rutledge, Union Springs Baptist Church in Rutledge, Plainview Baptist Church, and Bostwick Methodist Church. Franklin also noted her employer at Piedmont Walton Hospital in Monroe, Ga. has also helped her during this difficult time.
“The outpouring from everyone has just been incredible. I’ve overwhelmed by it,” said Franklin. “I can now truly say that we are One Morgan, because I have experienced it.”