Sevier County Rescue Squad still collecting donations for wildfire victims

A large donation center is still open in Sevier County but organizers say many people don't know about it.

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – A large donation center is still open in Sevier County, but organizers say many people don’t know about it. The Sevier County Rescue Squad is collecting thousands of donations and placing them at the Smoky Mountain Palace in Sevierville. It’s one of the few centers still up and running.

“We have anything you need pretty much to rebuild your life,” said Josh Bales, a member of the Sevier County Rescue Squad.

Related: Boyd’s Bear distribution center closes; Sevier County wildfire help continues

Bales and his team at the Sevier County Rescue Squad are helping to rebuild those lives. It started this donation center just after the Gatlinburg fires.

“We have all been affected by the fire in some way and this is our way of giving to the community,” said Bales.

They’ve been collecting everything from clothes to baby food. They say the need is still there even months after the fires.

Previous story: Sevier County Rescue Squad needs help, volunteers for Gatlinburg fire evacuees

“It’s going to be an ongoing thing. It’s not going to be overnight. It’s going to take month,” said Bales.

Thousand of items are here to help people get through those months. However, to Bales’ surprise, not many people are coming by. He said most people have been heading over to Boyd’s Bear. That donation center is now closed, making this center at Smoky Mountain Palace one of the only centers left open.

“We get a lot of people saying it’s a blessing. They can’t believe we are still doing it,” Bales said.

Sevier County Rescue Squad plans to keep the donation center open until April. As far as donations needed, the group said it needs more food. They have enough clothes. If people would like to donate, they can come by the Smoky Mountain Palace to drop items off. For Sevier County residents that want to come by the shelter, all you need is proof of residence. You need something with your address on it, like photo identification.

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