Dolly Parton, age 70, a country singing and songwriter who was born in Sevier County Tennessee. In December 2016, wildfires struck Gatlinburg which is why she started the Dolly Parton My People Fund through the Dollywood Foundation.
The fires killed 14 people and either burned down or defaced 17,000 acres of land including 2,400 buildings.
Many people lost their homes and are now staying in shelters in nearby towns. Parton pledged $1,000 monthly, up to six months, to help those who lost their homes due to the fires.
Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund
Parton believes that charities start at home, so she enlisted all of her companies such as Dollywood Theme Park, Dixie Stampede, Lumberjake Adventure, and DreamMore Resort to help her establish the My People Fund.
The singer wants to give a helping hand to all who lost their homes, jobs, and, for some, family and friends. Parton promised to make this happen by making sure that the Dollywood Foundation give $1,000 every month for six months to those who were affected by the wildfires. She hopes the assistance will help the families bounce back and land back on their feet.
Parton states “Tuesday’s star-studded telethon,” which aired on Dec. 13, was for people affected by the Gatlinburg wildfires in her Tennessee hometown received around $9 million in pledges for the My People Fund. The telethon collected $1 million within 36 hours after the airing of the telethon. The amount is expected to grow as donations by mail are counted and the telethon airs again.
Donations by mail will be accepted. The address is My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation; 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN, 37863.
Singers donating by performing to the effort of the telethon are Parton, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Chris Stapleton, and Hank Williams Jr. Appearances by Michael W. Smith, Chris Janson, Alison Krauss, Big & Rich, Chris Young, Jamey Johnson will entertain viewers. The list of performers also includes Cyndi Lauper, LOCASH, Don McLean, Montgomery Gentry, Amy Grant, Alabama, Rhonda Vincent, and Aaron Lewis.
Initial Release Dates of Funds
The first monies were handed out to residents who qualified for assistance from the My People Fund on Dec. 15-16 and Dec. 19-20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST at CARE MORE Assistance Center at LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge. Recipients were assigned specific dates according to the first letter of their last name.
- Thursday, Dec. 15: Last names starting with A-F.
- Friday, Dec. 16: Last names starting with G-L.
- Monday, Dec. 19: Last names starting with M-R.
- Tuesday, Dec. 20: Last names starting with S-Z.
All who qualify must have their photo identification when picking up the fund. Families can receive the help from Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund for up to six months.
The second distribution of monies is scheduled to take place between Jan. 26-27, 2017, at LeConte Events Center, in Pigeon Forge.
Nearly 900 families, who lost their homes, were assisted by the My People Fund. Parton stated that she is happy she was able to make it happen for so many people this holiday season.
By Marrissa Kay
Edited by Cathy Milne
WLRA: With help from Dolly Parton, Gatlinburg works to rebuild
The New York Times: Dolly Parton Pledges $1,000 a Month to Families Made Homeless by Tennessee Fires
Fox 17 News Nashville: $9.3 Million raised by Dolly Parton telethon, hundreds of families receive first checks
WBIR: What you need to know for Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise telethon
Featured and Top Images Courtesy Of Kristopher Harris’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License