Walland fire inspires locals to support fire crews with food donations

WALLAND (WATE) –  Blount County residents that aren’t volunteering directly on the Walland fire are helping by giving donations.

Walland Market and Deli, located near the emergency fire headquarters has seen a rise in business from locals and first responders.

“Business has been busy because we’re the only place in town, basically, but we’ve tried to stay open late for the first responders and try to keep the lines of communication open of what’s happening,” said Chef Daniel Varday.

Chef Varday has made hundreds of sandwiches in the last two days for responders, and locals, who use the store as a place to gather.

Varday says the Walland Market’s has served as a place for fire crews and volunteers to come together and make a plan.

“It’s a place to come, a place where we can all see each other. Talk a little bit and, you know, just make sure we’re all okay.”

Next to the market, the headquarters for firefighters and volunteers is filled with cases of water, homemade dinners, and boxes of donated food. Fire crews say they first purchased some food, but the outpouring of donations added more than even they imagined.

“Everywhere you went, people would stop and say ‘are you guys all right? We hope it rains and we’re praying for you. We appreciate you,’” said Nathan Waters, Department of Forestry.

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