NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Sevier County officials asked that donations of items like clothing, blankets, and shoes stop because the area is overwhelmed with an influx of donations.
"We continue to be grateful and humbled by the support we are recieving," said Larry Waters, the Sevier County Mayor. "However, we are overwhelmed with the amount of in-kind donations we are receiving."
That's why the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, or CFMT, is urging cash donations from people who choose to help those impacted by the wildfires.
"The people who have totally lost their houses are going to need to pay rent some place. And they're going to need money to rebuild what they've lost," said Ellen Lehman, president of CFMT.
The CFMT is accepting monetary donations online at their website www.cfmt.org. A system is in place to distribute those funds directly to affected communities.
Additionally, cash donations can be made to the American Red Cross, who is partnering with Kroger stores in Middle and East Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Southern Kentucky. Kroger will also make a $10,000 donation.
First Tennessee Bank will also match donations made to the East Tennessee Red Cross - the public can donate at any First Tennessee location.
Some donations of items are useful - but only if the collection site is in contact with a Sevier County group that has the ability to receive, store, and distribute those items.
Belmont Church in Nashville is partnering with the Smokey Mountain Area Rescue Mission who is expecting a truckload of donations. The group has commandeered a restaurant to store and distribute those items.
Belmont Church will collect items from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. The truckload of supplies will leave for Sevier County on Saturday morning.