Thanks to the generosity of Food City, their customers, associates and more, the company presented checks to the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Gatlinburg Relief Fund totaling $750,000 to aid fire recovery.
“Our company has been privileged to operate in the Sevier County/Gatlinburg area for more than thirty years and we certainly want to do everything possible to help our friends and neighbors recover from this devastating disaster,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City President/CEO.
Food City designated $500,000 to benefit the Gatlinburg Relief Fund, while the remaining $250,000 was directed to the My People Fund.
“Over the past month, we’ve received a tremendous outpouring of support – literally from around the nation. Words fail to be able to adequately express our sincere appreciation to our customers, associates, vendor, media and NASCAR partners for their extreme generosity and passionate response in making this donation possible,” said Smith.
The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Gatlinburg Relief Fund will provide financial relief directly to the immediate families of each individual who lost their life due to the fires and to the employees who are currently unemployed because the fire destroyed the business where they worked.
Officials announced on Tuesday that qualifying businesses, and employees of qualifying businesses, could begin submitting their grant application. They hope to complete the process of identifying individuals in need of assistance by Friday, Dec. 30 with check distribution beginning as early as Thursday, Jan. 5.
“This generous donation by Food City allows us to begin working to help the families affected by the wildfires,” said Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner. “We are so appreciative to them, their customers and everyone else who have made this possible. We have a long road ahead of us, but we are ‘Mountain Tough,’ and with help like this from our friends at Food City, we’ll be able to help so many of those who are now unemployed because of the fires.”
The large donation helps the Dollywood Foundation’s mission to provide monetary assistance to the families who lost their primary residence—owners or renters—in the wildfires. From December to May, the My People Fund will provide $1000 each month to every family who lost their primary residence in the November wildfires.
During the first four-day check distribution, 884 families received support payments through the My People Fund. The next distribution is scheduled for Jan. 26-27, 2017 at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“We’re honored to have the opportunity to present these funds to two extremely well respected organizations who are working diligently to ensure the needs of the Gatlinburg/Sevier County community are being met in the quickest, most efficient manner possible,” said Smith.