Though the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced us to postpone the opening of our 35th season at Dollywood, our hosts are not just sitting at home waiting for those brighter days. They’re getting to work in a different way—a way that’s safe AND supports our community.
Because there’s a shortage for all medical supplies right now, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reached out to see if we could help produce masks for their patients, nurses and doctors. As soon as we heard there was a need that we could fill, our hard-working teams jumped into action.
Dollywood’s Wardrobe team (this is the crew who supplies wardrobe for hosts at all properties) and the Costume Shop team (this is the group who builds all the costumes for Dollywood performers) put their sewing skills to great use. In one day, the Wardrobe team created 350 masks. The Costume Shop produced 250 adult masks and 250 children’s masks over the course of two days. Members of both of our Dollywood teams have asked to continue making the masks from home, so company officials are providing supplies we currently have on-hand to allow the teams to continue this work!
Similarly, because of the known short supply of PPE (personal protective equipment), Dollywood’s Merchandise team pointed to our stock of Dollywood ponchos we have on-hand right now. First responders are in dire need of gowns that protect them from what they may come in contact with as they respond to medical emergencies. These ponchos can meet that need right now. Because many of our Safety team members also work for community agencies, we have a tight relationship and want to support them however we can. Our Safety Team provided 200 ponchos to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Pigeon Forge Fire Department and the Sevier County Ambulance Service.
In a previous blog, we shared how leaders in our Culinary Services teams donated thousands of dollars in fresh food to Sevier County Food Ministries because they need it now more than ever. We not only were able to give supplies, but also a check for more than $16,000 to help shore up their pantry.
While we cannot wait until we are able to create memories worth repeating for Dollywood guests once again, from where I sit, it’s also a very sweet time. We have the unique opportunity to strengthen community bonds as we support and love each other. These endeavors, too, are definitely worth repeating.