Food City presents $750K donation to Sevier Co. wildfire relief funds

(WJHL) – Thanks to the outpouring of support and generous donations from people across the region, Food City presented a big donation to Sevier County wildfire relief efforts Thursday.

Food City officials said in-store collections and donations from employees generated $750,000.

“As you know, earlier this month, Food City pledged a 50,000 donation to launch a full-scale fundraising campaign for Gatlinburg – Sevier County relief efforts,” said Food City President Steve Smith. “Our company has operated here for more than 30 years and we’re certainly very familiar with the scenic beauty and the thriving commerce that we have here in this region.”

The money raised will go to the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund, as well as the Gatlinburg Relief Fund.

“We certainly want to do everything that we can to help our friends and neighbors to recover from this devastating disaster.  Therefore, we invited our customers, our associates, our business partners, the media and our NASCAR partners to assist in the fundraising activities,” said Smith.

Jeff Conyers, Executive Director of the Dollywood Foundation received a $250,000 check. The Gatlinburg relief fund received a $500,000 check from Food City’s campaign.

“Over the past month we’ve received a tremendous outpouring literally from around the nation to help in this effort,” said Smth. “There aren’t really words that I can use to describe and express our gratitude and appreciation for the extreme generosity that we’ve seen in the passionate response by our community and the region at large.”

According to Food City, “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.”

The Dollywood Foundation’s mission is to provide $1,000 a month to families who lost their homes – renters or owners – in the wildfires. The assistance will be available from December 2016 to May 2017.

See also: Dollywood Foundation helps nearly 900 families affected by Sevier County wildfires 

“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.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.       

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