So, I was going to continue my habit of posting a couple of blogs, then going silent for a month or so…
…But then I woke up the other day and significant portions of East Tennessee were on fire.
Apparently, a wild fire in the mountains spread to more inhabited areas; Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
People I care about live and work in those towns. And a lot more people I’ll never meet share that distinction.
(I have checked on mine, and they’re okay. I spare a compassionate thought for those who cannot say the same.)
These towns may be known as tourist destinations, but the people that live and work there aren’t rich. Most of them are low-paid and hard working; many in the service and entertainment industries. They are artists, and actors, and servers, and local small business owners. They are the people that clean the hotel rooms the tourists stay in. They cook the food and mop the floors. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are towns full of working people, the vast majority of them – like you and I – making enough to barely get by. There is not celebrity or glamour in what they do, but there is necessity. We need them. They enrich our lives. And now they need our help.
Tennessee is called, “The Volunteer State.” Communities and local organizations are, even now, busy living up to that title. There is a lot of work to be done to recover from this horror. If you can help, please do.
There are many local initiatives. My guess is, if you’re a local, you either know them already or know where to find out about them. If you’re not a local, and you want to help, here are some options:
Donate to the Red Cross: redcross.org/donate
or Remote Area Medical: www.ramusa.org
or The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley (animals were displaced as well): https://www.youcaring.com/seviercountyhumanesociety-702875
or The Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless: tvchomeless.org
All of these organizations will take monetary donations. All of them will need them.
I know budgets get tight around the holidays. If you have a little to give, please give.
Prayers and compassionate thoughts are nice, but they don’t supply drinking water, medical attention, food, housing, or clothing.
If you can help, please help.