A Beloved Tourist Town and Its Communities
In the wake of such tragedy and devastation, communities are rallying together to rebuild and support one another. The death toll has now risen to 10 with families still missing. As the day’s progress after the fire that roared through the Smoky Mountains, we are learning more about the families of those that lost their lives and of the destruction of the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.
Volunteers are flocking to the town to help with the aftermath. Thousands of acres were scorched by the blaze, destroying more than 700 buildings in Sevier County, which includes about 300 alone in Gatlinburg.
Many are wondering how they can help, and what they should do about their travel plans. Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner is encouraging visitation to help support the community. “If you really want to do something for Gatlinburg, come back and visit us,” Werner said in a Nov. 30 press conference.
Dollywood is a Theme Park in Pigeon Forge that was damaged by the fire as well. They are re-opening their doors tomorrow. Dolly Parton has stepped up in a big way to help support the community as well. She recently announced that with the help of her foundation, she will be donating $1,000.00 a month to each family that lost their home to the fire until repairs have been made. If you would like to learn more about her foundation and the charity, I encourage you to visit her web page. Donations are being accepted beginning Friday, December 2, 2016, on DollywoodFoundation.org.
“Charity Begins At Home”
Local Businesses and Resorts:
Officials are working diligently to keep the public apprised to the damage that has been found as quickly as possible. They have created a Facebook page with official information on the fire and damage as it is received. You may also find an updated list of damaged buildings and locations here.
Travel to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge – What You Need To Know
This community needs our support now more than ever. Restaurants, Hotels and Resorts, Theme Parks and Attractions, are up and running in Pigeon Forge and looking for your friendly faces. The Gatlinburg official website is available for you to view what attractions and areas will be closed during your stay due to the fire, and when the evacuation has been lifted. Pigeon Forge is open for business today! Please take a look at the official Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism page for their travel updates to keep you informed and up to the minute with family plans.
How You Can Help Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (TN VOAD) has set up a call center to provide information for those who would like to donate goods and volunteer to help survivors. For a list of the most-needed items, please visit http://mypf.social/pfdonationneeds. The call center is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; the phone number is 866-586-4483.
To support displaced residents and visitors, Pigeon Forge established a distribution center to disperse donated food and supplies. Located just off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge in the former Boyds Bear building at 149 Cates Lane, the facility is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
Finally, we are praying for these communities and all of the families that were affected by this tragedy. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing the beautiful town of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with all its glory again very soon. We look forward to taffy at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen and walking the street of downtown Gatlinburg to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies once more. God Bless you all!
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