Translators needed to help Gatlinburg fire survivors

Translators needed to help Gatlinburg fire survivors

Whitney Winston: "I don't want the language barrier to prevent them from getting the funds."


ALCOA, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2016) -- When Whitney Winston read about the Dollywood Foundation’s fund for helping families displaced by the Sevier County wildfires, she immediately began to worry about a group of people who could easily be left out in the cold.

Who was going to translate the information for Hispanic families who did not speak English, she asked?

“Are people going to fall through the cracks, or are they going to get the help they need?”

Winston, director of Holston’s new “Camp in the Community” ministry, didn’t wait for someone else to do something. She left a message at the Dollywood Foundation, and soon found herself in the middle of a meeting with Dollywood executives.

After Winston described the urgent need for language assistance so the Hispanic community could receive aid, the executives asked, “Could you do that for us?”

Winston not only said yes, she was later asked to recruit and schedule translators at three different volunteer centers in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.

“I may be crazy,” said Winston, who took on the volunteer position just a few weeks after creating a new full-time camp position and moving into the Alcoa Conference Center.

Winston is trying to fill 56 interpreter shifts on four days during which families may apply for Dollywood "My People Fund" assistance at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge: Dec. 15-16 and Dec. 19-20. Training on Dec. 14 is requested.

She’s also trying to fill six total interpreter slots (volunteer) every day for an indefinite period. Two interpreters are needed every day for volunteer shifts at Boyd’s Bears, 149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge; Volunteer Rescue Squad, 1171 Dolly Parton Parkway, Sevierville; and Jubilee Distributing, 2115 Parkway, Pigeon Forge.

Contact Winston at or (865) 293-4137 if you can speak both English and Spanish and are willing to help.

“This money can transform the lives of these families, and I don’t want the language barrier to prevent them from getting the funds,” Winston said. “I can guarantee that will happen if we can’t fill these spots. “


See also:
5 churches receive $40,000 to help fire survivors (The Call, 12.9.16)

Our complete coverage of Sevier Co. wildfires



Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.