Resources available for evacuees and first responders

Michelle Hankes of the Red Cross provided an update on relief efforts at about 10 a.m. Nov. 29, 2016.

Pigeon Forge will open up a supply distribution center to serve those affected by the wildfires.

“The generosity of our community and others across the state of Tennessee and beyond is simply more than we could have ever imagined,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster. “It is a blessing to us to pay this forward by establishing a distribution center to serve all of our Sevier County neighbors and visitors who have been affected by recent wildfires.”

The distribution center opens on Thursday, Dec. 1, and is located just off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge in the former Boyds Bear facility at 149 Cates Lane. The facility will be staffed and open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

“As folks begin to rebuild, these donated items provide for many of the necessities in the coming weeks,” Teaster added. “As the donors intended, hopefully these items will help lighten the burden of those in need.” 

Any Sevier County resident or visitor who was affected by the wildfires is encouraged to visit the distribution center.

Available supplies include bottled water, adult- and children’s-sized apparel, footwear, blankets, food, beverages, over-the-counter medications, personal hygiene products, diapers, flashlights, baby formula and more. 

The distribution center will remain open until demand decreases or inventory is depleted. Donation collection efforts that are already under way will be received at the distribution center. City officials kindly request that no new donation collection efforts begin until the current supply is reduced and additional storage space becomes available.

Any veterans having trouble in the aftermath can call the Veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 or call the Vet Center in Knoxville at 865-633-0000.

Related: How to help Gatlinburg evacuees and first responders


Several shelters and other facilities have been opened up for those evacuating due to wildfires.

Evacuation shelters have been set up at the Gatlinburg Community Center at 156 Proffitt Road, along with one at Rocky Top Sports World near Gatlinburg Pittman High School on Highway 321.

The Red Cross has also set up a shelter at Eagles View Community Church at 3324 Cosby Highway near Cosby School. The Cocke County Emergency Management Agency said they especially need Toiletries and Grooming Items such as: Toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, hair and tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap etc and women's personal items.

To help with Pigeon Force evacuations, three county school buses were available for emergency transport and were being dispatched as needed to transport those who need to evacuate.

The following locations are also open and ready to receive those who need shelter:

  • Pigeon Forge Community Center
  • Liberty Baptist Church in Wears Valley
  • Iglesia Cristiana LaDuz De Jesus.
  • The Sevier County Rescue Squad is distributing supplies at 1171 Dolly Parton Parkway from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The organization has a number of essential items such as food, water, clothing, some cribs, strollers, car seats, baby food, diapers, perishable and non-perishable items.
  • The First Red Bank Baptist Church in Sevierville is closed as of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The church does not have power.
  • First Baptist Church of Sevierville, 317 Parkway, Sevierville
  • River Plantation RV Resort and Anchor Down RV Resort are open to assist with any campers being evacuated
  • Trinity Baptist Church 1995 Hartford Road in Cosby, TN 
  • Sunset Gap at 1300 Sunset Gap Road in Cosby, TN, is opening its dorms for people who need a place to stay. They are also collecting donations. Phone number: (423) 623-4313.
  • For all displaced animals and livestock: Douglas Lakeview stables at 1650 Providence Rd in Sevierville, TN is offering pasture to put displaced livestock, and animals during this time of emergency. You can contact Kristi at (864)671-8439 and we are working with others who can help transport these animals.
  • The Barker Lounge is open all night for anyone needing to board their dogs due to the fire.
  • Pets without Parents Shelter is accepting pets of owners that have been forced to evacuate their homes and need a safe place for their pets. The organization is offering temporary shelter until pets can be reunited with their families. The shelter is located at 901 Mize Lane in Sevierville.
  • Wildwood Farm has pasture, water and hay available for large animals (cattle, horses, llamas, etc.) displaced by the fires. The farm is located at 4902 Green Road in Maryville. Anyone needing more information can call (865)256-9589.
  • Smoky Mountain K-9 Cottages has opened its facility to evacuees in need of a safe place for their dogs. The facility is waiving fees. Contact Marni Sotomayor at (865)428-7311.

A number of restaurants are also providing free meals to first responders:

  • All Collier Restaurant Group restaurants in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge will feed first responders for free.
  • Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant and Grill at 240 Apple Valley Road in Sevierville will provide free meals to first responders. The restaurant will also accept donations for the American Red Cross.
  • All Firehouse Sub locations in the Knoxville area will accept donations of bottled water, energy drinks, Gatorade and anything of the like. The restaurants will also work with local officials to provide food to firefighters.
  • Commercial Bank’s Knoxville and Newport locations are collecting items such as water, Gatorade and power bars to help fire crews and first responders. Locations include West Knoxville, Fountain City, Halls and Powell. Collected items will be delivered Thursday afternoon.
  • Elvira's Cafe in Wears Valley will be feeding all fire emergency responders and evacuees Wednesday, Nov. 30. Biscuits and gravy in the morning and grilled cheese and homemade soups will be available until 2:30 p.m. to those in need. 

If your organization wants to help with relief, please coordinate with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency at (615)741-0001.

 

If you know of more facilities opening their doors to evacuees, post the info on the WBIR Facebook page or tweet us at @wbir. We'll continue to update this list as we get more info.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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