South Alabama Women Wants to Bring Christmas to Gatlinburg, TN Fire Victims


A black bear is in the first box of toys that will be donated to Taylor’s East Tennessee Toy Drive.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee holds many special memories for South Alabama native Vesta Taylor.

“My dad had took me through there when I was ten, and he died when I was fourteen,” she remembers. Taylor and her husband love taking trips to the Smoky Mountains, and recently arrived home from a short vacation in the Smokies last month.

They arrived home right before fires swept through the Sevier County area and destroyed many homes and much of the tourist town. Taylor knew she wanted to help immediately, but wasn’t sure where to begin.

She knew the city was being overwhelmed by volunteers and donations, so she wanted to try something different: a toy drive for the children who may not be able to celebrate Christmas this year.

“It’s Christmas time. You know, just thinking about the kids and thinking about the families, and you know when you’ve just recently been there, it just kind of, you know, hits you in the heart and you just want people to have Christmas,” she says.

Taylor is asking for donations of new toys, coats, and blankets, but says she will take anything people want to give. She says the biggest needs for her Toy Drive are baby toys and toys for older teens.

The donation locations are:

  • Andalusia – Andalusia Chamber of Commerce; Vesta Taylor Interiors; Grand Salon and Spa; Andalusia Garden Center
  • Greenville – First Reality of Greenville, Inc.; Clayton Homes; Goody’s
  • Monroeville – Goody’s

Donations will be accepted at each location until 3 p.m. on December 19th. Taylor and her husband will be taking the donations to Sevier County on December 20th.

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