Just a few short months after wildfires destroyed thousands of acres of land and the homes of hundreds of families in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Dolly Parton has pledged even more support for the people affected in an incredible new blessing for the victims.
Originally, Dolly announced that she was going to be providing every single family affected with $1,000 per month for six months to help them recover from the devastating effects of the raging wildfires.
In November 2016, a fire that was allegedly started by two teenage boys quickly spread across the land around Eastern Tennessee, killing 14 people and destroyed more than 2,400 homes and business.
The Dollywood Foundation established the ‘My People Fund’ immediately after the fires began sweeping through the Great Smoky Mountains and just a short time later, Dolly held a live telethon featuring a long list of country artists to raise money and assist in rebuilding efforts for the people affected.
This month marked the final payment from Dolly’s My People Fund to the families affected and because the fundraiser saw an amazing outpouring of support and love from folks all over, the fund was able to increase the final payment from $1,000 to $5,000 per family – and Dolly herself was on hand to help hand the checks out and thank the volunteers that have assisted in the movement.
Beyond increasing the final payment, Dolly’s My People Fund and the Mountain Tough Recovery Team have pledged to continue supporting these families by providing an additional $3 million to the cause. Furthermore, the My People Fund has helped to create a scholarship fund that will provide every high school junior and senior in Sevier County whose homes were destroyed by the wildfires a $4,500 scholarship.
As Dolly says in a new press release, “We started the distribution in December right around the longest night of the year and I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on.”
Our hearts and prayers are with all the families affected by this devastating fire. If you’d like to donate to the cause, the My People Fund is directing all donations to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team.