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Food City, Publix Among Those Aiding Gatlinburg Wildfire Relief Efforts

Logan McCabe, Bristol Motor Speedway's VP of consumer marketing,and Food City President and CEO Steve Smith.
Logan McCabe, Bristol Motor Speedway's VP of consumer marketing,and Food City President and CEO Steve Smith.

In the wake of the devastating fires sweeping Gatlinburg and Sevier County, Tennessee, Food City and Bristol Motor Speedway have teamed up to host a number of initiatives, including a fundraising campaign to benefit local relief efforts. Publix Super Markets also is supporting local relief efforts.

Beginning today, Dec. 1, and continuing through Dec. 7, Food City locations throughout Kentucky, Virginia and east Tennessee invite customers to make a monetary donation at checkout, with the contribution added to their order total. All of the funds raised will benefit the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund.

Food City has pledged a $50,000 contribution to kick off the fundraising efforts. Earlier in the week, the grocery chain also donated a tractor-trailer load of bottled water and Gatorade to assist local crews battling the raging fires.

“Many of our friends and neighbors have been devastated by these tragic fires, including a number of our Food City associates,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City’s president and CEO. “We have teamed up with our friends at Bristol Motor Speedway and a number of our media partners to provide some much-needed assistance with the relief efforts. We encourage our loyal customers and associates to join us in support of this critical mission.”

Bristol Motor Speedway also will collect donations for the Gatlinburg/Sevier County Relief Fund from The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights via red buckets at the holiday display ticket booths. The program will run through the end of Speedway in Lights on Jan. 7. In addition, Bristol Motor Speedway will match proceeds raised for the relief initiative at the Dec. 1 Speedway in Lights.

“While we can’t undo the damage from wildfires, we can all play a major role in relief efforts by donating money,” says Jerry Caldwell, EVP and GM at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Gatlinburg and Sevier County hold a special place in the hearts of NASCAR fans and all of us at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. When you visit the Speedway this holiday season, we encourage you to bring along a little something extra to help our neighbors in need.”

The Speedway also has opened the Medallion campground to the RV community/campers displaced by the fires. The lot offers complimentary camping spaces with full water and electrical hook-up at no charge. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation via Bristol Motor Speedway can visit the main ticket office at the O. Bruton Smith Building during normal business hours or by calling the ticket office.

“We would certainly like to thank Bristol Motor Speedway for their partnership on this critical initiative, as well as our media partners—WVLT, WIVK, WCYB, WXBQ and WYMT,” adds Smith.

Publix also supporting relief efforts

In related news, Publix Super Markets established a program Dec. 1 to offer its customers and associates at its Tennessee stores a way to directly assist people in those areas affected by disasters like the wildfires.

Customers may donate any amount by adding it to their grocery totals when checking out at Publix registers in its Tennessee stores. Donations will be channeled through the American Red Cross and designated specifically for disaster relief. The program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.

In a separate donation, Publix Super Markets Charities is contributing $250,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts in the areas affected by the fires.

“Publix is known for giving back to our communities and helping those in need,” said Director of Media and Community Relations Maria Brous. “We opened our first store in Pigeon Forge in May, and we were quickly embraced by the community. These donations will help the Red Cross respond to and help families recover from devastation like the fires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.”

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