To get a tshirt with this design visit smokiesstrong.org
November 28 is a day many will remember in the Gatlinburg community. In a wildfire like none other in the city’s past, more than 2400 buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed. 14,000 people were forced to evacuate from the place they called home, and 14 people lost their lives. When terrible tragedies happen like this, many experience overwhelming emotions of sadness for those who have been affected, but more importantly, a desire to help in any way they can. However, many people are often unsure of what they can do.
Although the wildfire has devastated the Gatlinburg community, it has been immensely inspiring to see the incredible amount of people who have taken matters into their own hands, and offered their help. The spirit of the state’s volunteer nickname has held true in a time when it’s needed the most. This portrays the incredible strength at the heart of the community. Here are 3 ways that you can be a part of helping the Smokies after the fire.
Don’t Stop Coming to the Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg has been a favorite vacation place for millions of people over the years. This has created a thriving and growing community that provides livelihoods for the people who call Gatlinburg home. If you have vacationed there in the past, or were planning on visiting, one of the ways you can help is to keep coming back! Gatlinburg relies on tourists to keep its flourishing city going, and now as they try to rebuild the areas that were lost, it’s even more important to support the growth. Today, December 9th marks the first day of Gatlinburg being open to the public, get out there and support the community by going to your favorite shops, buy local Christmas gifts, eat at your favorite local restaurant, and before you go, get some candy goodies to take with you on your way back.
While there have been many people who have worked together to help the Gatlinburg community, there is still much work to be done. No matter what your abilities are, there is a way you can help. Local news station WBIR has released a list that is continually updated on the many different places that need volunteers to help out. Click through to find how you can help. http://www.wbir.com/news/local/how-to-help-gatlinburg-pigeon-forge-fire-evacuees/357810685
While there are numerous ways to help by volunteering, monetary donations also help immensely in the rebuilding of the community. Families who have lost everything are being supported by the generous help of the community, and many local companies are rising to help out. You can support the cause by donating to funds such as Dolly Parton’s My People Fund which will provide families who have lost everything in the fire $1000 a month for six months to help them get back on their feet. You can check it out here https://dollywoodfoundation.org/.
Other local places supporting their community include mountaintough.org, and GoFundMe has several campaigns raising money for individual families affected by the fire https://www.gofundme.com/Tennessee-Fire-Relief.
In a world where tragedy, violence, and greed seem to rule the news reports, it’s inspiring to see the beautiful, selfless side of humanity that has pulled their strength together to help their fellow neighbors. Let’s be part of this noble force and use our abilities to help rebuild the wonderful, mountain strong community of Gatlinburg, TN.