It’s been a month since wildfires devastated Sevier County in East Tennessee—hometown of Dolly Parton. Since that time, Dolly Parton has set up the My People Fund in hopes of raising money to help the families who lost everything as a result of the fires.
In an effort to raise funds, Dolly held a telethon—Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund —on Tuesday Dec. 13 with the help of family and friends. The telethon has raised $9.3 million to date, with money still being donated. Right before the holidays, the first round of checks from the money raised have been distributed with 884 families receiving their initial support payments.
“It’s a blessing during this holiday season that we are able to help as many families as we have so far,” Dolly said in a statement. “We know there are more families out there who need our help and we encourage them to be in contact with us before our January distribution.”
“As, Dolly said, the response has been overwhelming,” said David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation president. “We will distribute all $9.3 million to the families affected. That will insure all of the money raised will go to where Dolly promised it would.”
The My People Fund promises to donate $1000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes were completely destroyed in the fires. Any family who lost their primary residence due to the wildfires in Sevier County are eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at dollywoodfoundation.org. The next distribution will take place on January 26 and 27, 2017, at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.