People in East Tennessee and beyond have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Red Cross to help with disaster relief in Sevier County.
Many of you have voiced concerns about where those donations are going.
Kelli England wrote on WBIR's Facebook page that donating to the Red Cross "is a waste because it (the money) isn't staying here." Dozens of other similar comments have been posted in the last week.
The Red Cross Director of External Relations for the Southeast, Kay Wilkins, has seen the messages accusing the Red Cross of taking donated items and funds out of Sevier County.
"The people who have given a donation to the wildfires can be assured it's being spent here in Tennessee," Wilkins said.
She said 100 percent of the roughly $270,000 raised during the Smokies Strong telethon is going to help victims of the wildfires in Sevier County.
Wilkins wants anyone who has donated or is thinking about donating to the Red Cross to know: your money is being used to run the shelters that more than 2,300 people have used since last Monday when the fire storm hit. As many as 150 people stayed in their shelter last night.
"We started putting our arms around the people who were forced out of their homes, who were scared, who were looking for safety, who didn't know what tomorrow would bring for them. And we made a commitment to be there for them today, tomorrow and in the days to come," Wilkins said.
The money also provides meals, first aid, mental health services and services for grieving families.
"We're talking to families in the hospitals. We're talking to families who've lost loved ones. We're working with each family individually to see what other needs they may have," she said.
To be certain your money is used to help the people of Sevier County, the Red Cross suggests writing "wildfire" on the memo line of your check.
If you still have concerns, they ask that you join them as a volunteer. There are currently 197 people working for the Red Cross in Sevier County. Eighty-eight percent of them are volunteers.
Any goods or items that have been donated to the Red Cross have been taken to the countywide supply distribution center at the former Boyd's Bear building in Pigeon Forge. Fire victims can pick up supplies there.
Read more at the Red Cross frequently asked questions blog post on their website.