Saturday, December 3, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Wildfire Response

So many of us have been touched by the devastating wildfires here in Tennessee—whether directly as residents or indirectly as concerned citizens with big hearts. At this crucial hour, timely and accurate information is critical. Here are the top questions we've gathered from social media, as well as answers that we hope will be helpful.

Please note this post will be modified as new information comes in. (Updated 12/6/16)

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.

The Red Cross works with government and nonprofit partners, helping agencies to develop community recovery strategies and plans together as a group.  For additional resources, please visit:

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 support current relief and recovery efforts in response to the tragic wildfires in Tennessee, and 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 house fires to massive hurricanes - around the country. The Red Cross honors donor intent and the best way to designate your donation to a specific disaster is to write the disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on with your check.

To honor donor intent, all donations that were raised during last week's telethons will stay here in Tennessee.

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.


  1. I stand with Red Cross & firmly believe you are handling it the appropriate way! Always a Red Cross supporter!

  2. Sorry Red Cross, you have angel volunteers working for you while the CEO makes over half a million !! If anyone wants their money going 100% to help victims send it to either the Catholic or the

    1. But the volunteers don't supply the shelters upkeep, the food, the clothing, the medications, glasses and other items lost. We just help distribute these things, as well as giving moral support and a listening ear to those affected. The CEO coordinates the efforts across the entire country. Just say'n...

  3. The CEO is also CEO of the Biomedical division which supplies half the nation's blood supply. She has a huge job and is paid accordingly. Just saying....

  4. Anonymous......why are you anonymous? If your high and mighty on your responses say what your name is. I assume its red cross responding.

  5. Anonymous......why are you anonymous? If your high and mighty on your responses say what your name is. I assume its red cross responding.

  6. Hi, Katie. "Anonymous" is not Red Cross responding. We respond to messages using our official account.

  7. The Red Cross is a big organization and if the CEO worked for a corporation the same size she would make 10 times that. The fact is you can't find people that are capable of runing such a large company for any less. If you find someone please take a picture becasuse I want an 8x18 glossy. Most charities raise money then hand it over to other people to do the work. The Red Cross CEO has to raise the money then do the actual work. I can't remember if it's 90% or 92% goes to helping people. People are constantly bashing the Red Cross. If the Red Cross is such a bad charity why does charity Watch. org give it a A-. They know what going on. I am getting a little tired of you armchair warriors putting down the Red Cross. You don't do your research first. If I thought for a second that the Red Cross was doing bad things I would quit. My only regret with the Red Cross is that I didn't join sooner. Maybe you would like to join our team. We would love to have you. It's eye opening.