MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Cordova woman is heading to Gatlinburg next week to bring donations to fire victims and first respondents.
Emily McElravey is busy juggling graduate school and everything else that comes with being in your twenties, but when she saw images of the Gatlinburg fire, the victims became center stage.
“I was quite devastated,” said McElravey. “It looked like something out of a movie, honestly.”
The flames have been taking no mercy on people’s homes, their belongings and even their lives.
“Quite a few people have told me they have parents or family members who don’t know if there house is still standing or not,” she said.
With the buzz of this destruction filling her social media, McElravey posted the only solution she could.
“I had trouble sleeping that night and I said, ‘I might be going next week to Gatlinburg, does anything want to donate anything?’”
A simple question she expected to be answered by few.
She said she planned on filling her car and taking some donations out east. However, her Facebook post spread like a fire itself and the number of people wanting to help grew to more than she could’ve imagined.
“So I started to become hesitant, like I can’t actually fit all this stuff into my car, so maybe slow down sharing it.”
Instead, her friend offered to pay for a UHaul truck and volunteered to drive them to Gatlinburg to distribute the goods.
They’ve set up nine drop-off spots around the Memphis area that will be open through Monday. They plan to take the clothing, food, diapers and other donations to Gatlinburg on Tuesday for victims and first responders.
They’re registered with a volunteer organization to make sure they bring everything to the right places.
“I’m really ready to start receiving the donations and getting my hands dirty,” she said.
It may be her final week of grad school, but McElravey’s the one with the lesson.
“They’re our brothers and our sisters so helping them is something that all of us should want to do.”
Below is the full list of what items are needed and the specific drop-off locations. If you drop off clothes, you’re asked to label them by size and whether they’re men’s or women’s.