So far, they've donated 850 masks to the children's hospital made by their wardrobe and costume shop teams, and the safety team has given 200 ponchos to local fire fighters and EMTs.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
April 14, 2020
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Right now, we face an unprecedented health crisis as so many of our nation's citizens battle coronavirus.

Across the South, we've been moved by inspirational examples of people helping their communities however they can. One recent charitable initiative that has us feeling grateful? The Dollywood theme park has stepped up in a big way to help the city of Pigeon Forge and beyond. First, around two-and-a-half weeks ago, the park presented the Sevier County Food Ministries with a check for more than $16,000 to help them as demand for food assistance rose amidst the coronavirus crisis. Now, the popular theme park—jointly owned by Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment—is pitching in to help first responders in the Pigeon Forge area and the East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

In early April, Dollywood's wardrobe and costume shop teams began producing reusable face masks to give to patients, nurses and doctors at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, creating 850 masks in total. These employees have requested to continue making the masks from home, so Dollywood will also be providing them with supplies they currently have available to facilitate those efforts.

“We are blessed to have talented hosts working in our wardrobe and costume shops. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reached out to us to see if we could help, and as soon as we received the call, our teams started working,” said Eugene Naughton, Vice President of Dollywood Park Operations, in a company press release “We knew this was the right thing to do, and our hosts have done an amazing job producing these masks. We’re just glad to do our part," he added.

In addition to sewing masks, Dollywood’s safety team donated 200 ponchos to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Pigeon Forge Fire Department, and the Sevier County Ambulance Service. As a result of medical supply shortages, these first responders don't have sufficient supplies of protective gowns that keep them safe as they conduct life-saving measures for the community. The ponchos will work to fill that gap in the interim and help give these men and women the safety they so deserve while performing their jobs.

“When we heard they were in need of this vital personal protective equipment, we knew we had to find a way to assist,” Naughton said in the same media statement. “These folks are on the front lines every day and we have to do all we can to keep them safe. We have a close working relationship with these groups—in fact, a number of our EMTs on staff also work for these local agencies—so we’re honored to be able to help them in this way," he continued.

We commend the Dollywood community for stepping up to provide aid to those on the front lines during this trying period in the world's history. How we look forward to the day when we can return to the Dreamiest, Dolly-est Place on Earth.