As the community of Gatlinburg tries to recover from the horrific wildfires that left 14 dead and destroyed property in its wake, donations are being collected to help locals who lost everything have something to look forward to this Christmas.
Hunter Gardner, a businessman based in North Carolina, has spent the last few weeks raising donations and awareness about the need of the people in Gatlinburg.
prayers going up for Gatlinburg, that's the best place on earth… especially at christmas time 😞❤️️
— Chloe Stephens (@Xoxochloe7) November 29, 2016
Gardner told WLOS ABC 13 the response has been unbelievable and hundreds of items have been donated including rugs, clothes and toys.
But there are still plenty of needs. According to Gardner, the biggest among them are packaged toys.
To help Gardner deliver a memorable Christmas to those in need, items can be dropped off at Superior Finish in Waynesville, NC (145 Broadview Road) until noon on Thursday December 22nd.
The following organizations are accepting donations via mail and online:
Christmas Place: The organization is located in Tenn. and states on their web page that, “All donated funds will be used to purchase toys, and Santa will deliver them personally to children currently sheltering away from home in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.”
My People Fund: Dollywood Foundation: The fund was started by Dolly Parton after the fires and provides $1,000 each month for six months to Sevier, Tenn. county families who lost their homes in the wildfires, the website states.
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) December 14, 2016
American Red Cross: The humanitarian group is helping in Gatlinburg and donations can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The two teenagers that were behind the Gatlinburg fire can face up to 60 years in prison each for aggravated arson and possibly murder charges.