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Chris Young Helps Children Affected By Tenn. Wildfires Have a Merry Christmas

chris young toys for tots
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Chris Young is making the holidays bright for children affected by the recent wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., through a partnership with the Country Music Association and Toys for Tots.

During the final stop of his I’m Comin’ Over Tour on Saturday (Dec. 10), Young announced that he would be partnering with the CMA to collect unwrapped toys in Nashville until 5PM CT on Friday (Dec. 16); all of the donations are being given to children in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and will be delivered on Monday (Dec. 19), via On Tour Logistics.

“I’ve seen everything that’s going on in Sevier County with all the wildfires and everything. It’s pretty heartbreaking …,” Young, a member of the CMA Board of Directors, said at the concert (quote via the Tennessean). “[We] are going to make sure all of those [toys] are going to be delivered before Christmas Eve to Sevier County. It’s Christmastime, man … we’ve gotta help people. It’s absolutely terrible.”

Young adds in a press release, “Tennessee is my home, and the families of Gatlinburg have lost so much — I’m glad to have the opportunity to help bring smiles to the children here at Christmastime.”

Toys for Tots is a 69-year-old national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Each Christmas season, the organization provides cheer to disadvantaged children with toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines. In 2015 alone, the Marine Corps made the holidays a little brighter for 7 million less fortunate children in 782 communities nationwide.

“We have many artists and CMA members with strong ties to East Tennessee, and we are thankful to Chris for spearheading this effort,” says Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the CMA. “Recovery in the region will take time, but getting a cherished toy into the hands of a child who has lost everything will hopefully spread some needed joy.”

In addition to Young, a number of other country artists have stepped up to the plate to help those in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge: Kenny Chesney (who is from East Tennessee himself) announced a pledge of $250,000 to restoration efforts, with his donation being matched by the Country Music Association. Taylor Swift partnered with the Academy of Country Music to give a total of $200,000. And on Tuesday night (Dec. 13), during the Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund telethon, Dolly Parton and a host of other stars helped raise a whopping $9 million, including additional donations from Chris Stapleton, Young, Dierks Bentley and Paul Simon, as well as countless fans.

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