Sevier County businesses and their employees impacted by the recent wildfires can begin applying for grants from the Gatlinburg Relief Fund on Tuesday.
The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation first announced it was establishing the fund Dec. 1, just days after wildfires burned through the area, to directly benefit families impacted by the wildfires. SmartBank is managing the fund and donations can be made at any SmartBank location. The Track in Pigeon Forge recently donated $40,000. The foundation would not disclose the total amount of donations made to that fund.
Qualifying businesses, and employees of qualifying businesses, may submit their grant application to the Gatlinburg Relief Fund beginning Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016
Grants of no more than $1000 may be issued to legitimate Sevier County businesses providing proper documentation, such as a copy of their business license or other proper business ID, that submit an application at the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 811 East Parkway in Gatlinburg.
Employees of businesses that qualify may be eligible for a grant.
“Employees of qualified businesses may qualify for assistance of direct payment of utilities, landlords, and/or other qualified businesses that provide services to said employees,” the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation said in a letter. “These employees will be vetted through businesses with which they are employed and approved assistance will be in the amount of no more than $500.”
Employees may apply through the foundation or through their employer.
Donations have poured in from across the country into various funds set up to help those affected by the wildfires.
The Dollywood Foundation’s “My People Fund” topped $9 million after airing of the Smoky Mountain Rise telethon. The first distribution payments of $1000 per family who lost their home began last week and will continue for a duration of six months.
About $100,000 has been donated to the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund account at Citizens National Bank.
The Sevier County Community Fund had raised $140,000 as of last Friday, with proceeds from the Mountain Tough Benefit concert featuring the Zac Brown Band held on Saturday still to be added. This fund was set up as an affiliate of the East Tennessee Foundation.
County officials and representatives from each of the funds have been meeting weekly. No funds have been distributed yet from the Sevier County Fire Relief Fund or Sevier County Community Fund. Trudy Hughes, East Tennessee Foundation director of Regional Advancement, says the group is still assessing the needs of the community.
For more information about each of these funds, visit mountaintough.org.
Photo: Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce/Facebook