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Dollywood donates critical items to East Tennessee Children's Hospital, Sevier Co. first responders

Dollywood said it donated hundreds of masks and ponchos that can be used as gowns amid medical supply shortages due to COVID-19.

Dollywood's teams are helping others in East Tennessee after the park postponed its season opening due to COVID-19.

Dollywood said two of its teams have found ways to help hospitals and first responders in the area. Its wardrobe and costume team began working from home to produce reusable face masks to give to patients, nurses and doctors at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville.

Dollywood said the wardrobe team was able to produce 350 masks in a single day, and the costume team produced 250 adult and 250 children's masks over two days. The teams were asks to continue making masks from home.

“We are blessed to have talented hosts working in our wardrobe and costume shops,” explained Eugene Naughton, Vice President of Dollywood Park Operations. “East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reached out to us to see if we could help, and as soon as we received the call, our teams started working. We knew this was the right thing to do, and our hosts have done an amazing job producing these masks. We’re just glad to do our part.”

Last week, Dollywood's safety team also provided 200 ponchos that are normally sold in souvenir shops to the Sevier County EMA, Pigeon Forge Fire, and the Sevier County Ambulance Service. Dollywood said those ponchos will be used as gowns, as the groups are in dire need of them to protect first responders from bodily fluids that may be present when they respond.

“When we heard they were in need of this vital personal protective equipment, we knew we had to find a way to assist,” Naughton explained. “These folks are on the front lines every day and we have to do all we can to keep them safe. We have a close working relationship with these groups—in fact, a number of our EMTs on staff also work for these local agencies—so we’re honored to be able to help them in this way.”

Dollywood also provided $16,000 to Sevier County Food Ministries two weeks ago to help the non-profit just as they began facing unprecedented demand. 

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