Please note this post will be modified as new information comes in. (Updated 12/2/16)
Q: Is it true Red Cross took everything that has been donated from the community and sent it out of state?
A. No. The Red Cross honors donor intent regardless of whether it’s a financial gift or goods like clothing. With regard to the generous donations of clothing and goods from the public, we are working in close partnership with community organizations to store, clean and distribute these items. Everything that has been generously donated at shelters is being brought to a central distribution point for those in need. Local officials are encouraging people to call 866-586-4483 for questions about donations or other issues. Residents affected by the fire who need donated items can visit the central distribution point at Boyds Bear, 149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge.
Q: Why did you stop taking donated items – you said you had enough?
A. There has been an outpouring of support from the community and we are working with Gatlinburg community leaders and other local organizations as additional items are brought in to help those in need. Donations may be dropped off at Boyds Bear, 149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge.
Q: Red Cross seems to be taking credit for all hard work the locals have done in TV interviews.
A. Not at all, the Red Cross fully understands that large disasters like this create more needs than any one organization can meet on their own. We are thankful for the outpouring of support and all of the organizations helping people affected by the wildfire. Disasters are complicated and it will take all of us, working together, to help Gatlinburg recover.
Q: Where is my financial donation going, is it staying local?
A. Financial donations to Disaster Relief are supporting current relief and recovery efforts in response to the tragic wildfires in Tennessee, and the Red Cross has what it needs at this time to help those impacted by this disaster. Disaster Relief financial donations are also helping with response efforts following days of deadly tornadoes across multiple states in the Southeast. By giving to Disaster Relief, you support our response to current disasters and keep us ready to respond to any and all disasters in the future – from the house fire down the street to massive hurricanes.
We appreciate that this is a challenging and difficult time for the residents of Tennessee, and the American Red Cross is committed to do all that it can to support those affected.