Dollywood has been providing vital items to help the community of Tennessee during the coronavirus pandemic. The theme park, which is temporarily closed due to the outbreak, has provided the Sevier County Food Ministries with a cheque for more than $16,000 to help boost the organisation’s supplies before it began to face unprecedented demand.

The theme park’s wardrobe and costume shop teams are producing reusable face masks to give to patients, nurses and doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The wardrobe team created 350 masks in just one day, as the costume shop team produced 250 adult masks and 250 children’s masks over just two days. The teams are continuing to make the masks from home.

Eugene Naughton, vice president of Dollywood Park Operations, said: “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. 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.”

Dollywood’s safety team has also been busy, providing 200 ponchos to the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Pigeon Forge Fire Department and the Sevier County Ambulance Service, which have been desperately needing such protection due to the ongoing medical supply shortage. As Naughton explained: “When we heard they were in need of this vital personal protective equipment, we knew we had to find a way to assist.

“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,” Naughton added.