Gatlinburg Fire Response
PET mobilizes for long-term response to Gatlinburg wildfires
The wildfires that hit Gatlinburg and Sevier County took mere minutes to cause devastation. The recovery, however, will take at least two years. The Presbytery of East Tennessee’s Disaster Response Team is working in concert with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and other organizations to help for the duration. Each month we will have an update for you and ways you can be involved. Here’s the latest:
What to know if you want to help in person (individual or group):
- Every volunteer must register through the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) at 1304 Parkway in Sevierville. You will be assigned a number so that your hours can be tracked at individual sites. (You only need to register at the VRC in person once. After that, everything can be done electronically).
- Only authorized groups will be allowed to participate in recovery efforts. The Sevier County Emergency Manager has determined that all recovery work (both needs of residents and offers of volunteer work) will go through the VRC. The county does not want individuals or groups soliciting work sites apart from the VRC.
- Because of the current nature of fire recovery, most volunteers are being used to sort donations. Work-site activity involves sifting and demolition. Precautions are being taken regarding exposure to potentially toxic debris.
- Churches in the presbytery are signing up to prepare meals for the volunteers with the All Hands organization, which is being housed at the Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church. New Providence will cover all the Tuesdays through January with food from the Welcome Table, but we have also signed up for some additional dates: 12/29, 1/7, 1/13, 1/19, and 1/22. This is an easy task for a Sunday school class, Geneva group, or even just a couple of families or individuals. Go to the Sign up Genius page to sign up to help with these meals. If you’d like to pick an alternate date, these are available at https://mealtrain.com/2l5wd7. Or, if you’d prefer not to cook, consider catering a meal from one of Gatlinburg’s restaurants. That helps local business owners and employees as well! Click here for the link to the MealTrain sign up for this project.
Monetary donations continue to be needed. Congregations and individuals are encouraged to donate to the Presbytery’s Disaster Relief fund.
Further information is available at the PET website (http://www.presbyteryeasttn.org/).