Ypsilanti teen collecting supplies for Gatlinburg fire victims

- A local teenager affected by the tragic fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is trying to make a difference.

After turning on the television and seeing the usually busy tourist city covered in charred debris, 17-year-old Jada Musico of Ypsilanti was touched.

"It honestly brought tears to my eyes when I saw everything (that) happened."

With more than a dozen people killed and at least a thousand buildings damaged with more than 14,000 people forced to evacuate due to the wildfires, Musico says she felt compelled to help.

"It hurts, it really does," she said. "Honestly it's just me and like five other people - and that's all it takes to make a difference."

She began with a GoFundMe page with a goal of $5,000.

"I wasn't honestly expecting a lot," she said. "Then saw this morning that people were starting to donate."

Musico says she plans to fill a truck Dec. 29  and drive down to a shelter that holds roughly 300 children the next morning. She is collecting clothing, toiletries, baby formula and diapers, household items, toys - even electronics. Anything to help the families.

"I actually have a Wii that I'm going to be taking down there," she said.

Musico says she's getting help from Costco which has donated canned goods and bottled water along with the Red Cross donating backpacks and school supplies.

"I want to bring it down there so they are stress-free," she said. "So all they have to worry about is getting their house back."

Even preparing to bake cookies with the kids when she gets to Gatlinburg upon their request, Musico hopes she can stuff that truck and deliver this message to those who've lost so much.

"Hang in there," she said. "Everything is going to be okay. We'll get through it. One step at a time."

If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe page CLICK HERE

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