How to help those affected by Sevier County wildfires

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many Tennessee residents are still helping Sevier County after a wildfire devastated Gatlinburg, killing 14 and destroying over 1,000 structures.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (TN VOAD) have setup a call center, 866-586-4483, staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day, for information about donating goods and volunteering to help survivors of the Sevier County wildfires.

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.

DOLLY PARTON

Anyone who would like to contribute to Dolly Parton’s My People Fund may visit DollywoodFoundation.org, and if you are someone who needs the assistance, see an application here.

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.

VOLUNTEER

Those who would like to volunteer to help for Sevier County, should sign up with Volunteer East Tennessee https://www.volunteeretn.org/DisasterRecovery. You will be contacted as soon as Sevier County has volunteer operations up-and-running.  Please do not show up in Sevier County to volunteer, or deliver donations.

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.”

Click here for continuing coverage of the Sevier County wildfire.