[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 5px 0px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”2/3″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-left”]If you’re living anywhere in East Tennessee, you know about the wildfires that are sweeping through the mountains. It’s national news now. In the past few days, you’ve probably seen and smelled the smoke in Knoxville and the surrounding areas.

Picture taken by Aaron Coakley with the Del Rio Fire Dept.

Picture taken by Aaron Coakley with the Del Rio Fire Dept. of the wildfire on Neddy Mountain.

It’s the worst wildfire to hit the Smokies in a hundred years. At least three people have died, fourteen people have been injured, 150 buildings are in ruins and around 14,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Now, more than ever, is the time to band together and help our fellow East Tennesseans. True to our state’s nickname, countless numbers of people have stepped forward to volunteer to help and make donations.

According to The Tennessean, many organizations and companies have pledged to provide (and accept) help and donations for those in need:

  • Kroger, along with the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross are accepting monetary donations. These can be made at any Kroger store. Kroger is also making a $10,000 contribution.
  • First Tennessee Bank will be matching donations made to the East Tennessee Red Cross. Donations can be made at any of their locations.
  • The Knoxville Expo Center at 5441 Clinton Highway will be focusing on helping babies and children – by collecting donations of toys, games, baby/child-care products, etc.
  • The LeConte Event Center at Pigeon Forge at 2986 Teaster Lane will be accepting over-the-counter medicines, baby/child-care products, toys, games, clothing for children and adults, toiletries, etc.
  • West Town Mall at 7600 Kingston Pike will be collecting water bottles, clothes, toiletries and pet-care items until Friday near the Cheesecake Factory.

The list goes on and on, and is still growing. For more information and a complete list of organizations involved, please refer to the news articles by The Tennessean and Knoxville News Sentinel.

The Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless is also accepting donations for the fire victims. You can donate here. For those who have lost their homes, the Homeless Assistance Hotline is (888) 556-0791.

If you’re active on Facebook and live in the area near the wildfires, be sure to report that you’re safe via their Safety Check.

Do you need to report a missing person? The TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) has established a hotline to assist with reports of missing person in the East Tennessee wildfires. Call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

When we work together, we can make a difference. Even the smallest of donations will go a long way towards bringing some degree of peace to the victims of the fire. Let’s all do what we can to be a beacon of light for those in dark times.

Sources:

The Tennesseean

Knoxville News Sentinel  

Pictures taken by Aaron Coakley with the Del Rio Fire Dept.[/cs_text][cs_text class=”cs-ta-left”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-left”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-left”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-left”][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/3″ style=”padding: 10px;”][x_widget_area sidebar=”sidebar-main” ][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]