Dollywood presents $39K to Sevier County Food Ministries

Nov. 26, 2013 @ 11:32 PM

A big check from Dollywood couldn’t have come at a better time for the Sevier County Food Ministry.

The amusement park gave the ministry $39,208 Monday, on the same day volunteers handed out 890 holiday meals as needy families came in to get food for the Thanksgiving holiday. Director Jim Davis said they expect to give out more than 2,000 of the meals this week.

“They’ve been helping us for years and it always comes in handy during the holidays,” Davis said.” It’s very helpful. we got the check early this year and it’s nice to know it's here.”

November is one of the ministries' busiest months, and the winter months overall see an increase in demand on the food ministry because so many local workers are laid off from jobs related to the tourist industry during its slowest months in the area.

“We’re already seeing big numbers and there are still people working right now,” Davis said. The agency needs all the donations it get right now, whether from individuals, churches or businesses, he said.

Dollywood gives money to the ministry twice a year, when it hosts Sevier County Days. The weeklong events, which are held in the summer and fall, give local residents a chance to visit Dollywood’s parks for a $5 admission, with all the proceeds for those admissions going to the Food Ministry.

“It’s basically Sevier County residents giving the money. We’re just a conduit,” Dollywood spokesman Wes Ramey said.

“It is a very important time with Thanksgiving coming up. The food ministry does an amazing job, and it’s just what can we do to help.”

The ministry will be open from noon until 4 p.m. today and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

It’s located at 890 Old Knoxville Highway, beside the Sevier County Fairgrounds, and can be reached by calling 428-5182.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com