How to help those affected by Sevier County wildfires

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of people were evacuated from the Sevier County towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge overnight Monday. More than 150 structures were either damaged or destroyed.

If you’d like to help as the area recovers, check out a few of the options below.

KROGER

Beginning Tuesday, all Middle and East Tennessee Kroger stores will accept customer donations. Stores in northern Alabama and Southern Kentucky will also collect. To make a donation, Kroger customers can add any amount they wish to their purchase at time of checkout.

REDCROSS

You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or visit RedCross.org. Checks can be mailed to 6921 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37909.

The Red Cross cannot accept donations of individual items. Monetary donations enable the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for a disaster operation.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has set up a fund to help the victims address their ongoing needs. To donate, click here to visit CMFT.org.

Many organizations, businesses and churches in East Tennessee are also accepting item donations. Read more at WATE.com.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett is urging people to use caution when trying to help fire victims.

“Tennesseans are among the most generous people in our country and I know that we will support our fellow Tennesseans in their hour of need. Please be diligent in giving to only reputable organizations so that we can best assist the people of Gatlinburg and Sevier County,” she said. “Do not be pressured into giving cash donations to people that you don’t know. Unfortunately, during disasters there are scam artists who prey on our generosity. However, I still encourage Tennesseans to be generous but smart about contributions so that we maximize recovery efforts.”