On November 23rd, fires erupted in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed more than 2,400 homes and businesses. The people of Tennessee were left confused, hurt, and in mourning.
Two teens were arrested and charged with aggravated arson after they were allegedly caught on camera as they walked alongside a mountain trail after they threw lit matches into the forest. One of Gatlinburg’s most famous residents, Dolly Parton, built her theme park Dollywood in the area, which also suffered some loss to the lodging area.
Just a few days after the fires consumed East Tennessee, Parton took to social media to announce that she set up the My People’s Fund. With that fund, she will be giving $1000 a month to each family who has lost their home in the wildfires in Sevier County.
“I’ve always believed charity begins at home and my home is some place special,” Parton explained. “That’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood Companies—including the Dollywood theme park, and DreamMore Resort; my dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation—to help me establish the My People Fund,” she said. “We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”
She took her generosity one step further and announced that she would be putting on a benefit concert to help raise money for those affected by the fires. Calling the event Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, Parton and her featured acts will be showcased on Great American Country (GAC) for a 3 hour telethon, in addition to the program being featured on various radio stations.
Parton announced she will be joined by Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire and Alison Krauss, but in the last few days, the list of performers has grown and the legendary status of this benefit is through the roof!
The artists that have been added are Hank Williams Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Chris Stapleton, Don McLean, Chris Young, Ronnie Dunn, Chris Janson, Jamey Johnson, Big & Rich, LoCash, Lauren Alaina, Aaron Lewis, Montgomery Gentry, Amy Grant, Alabama, and Michael W. Smith.
Smoky Mountains Rise is set to air on Tuesday, December 13th at 8pm EST. Those who would like to contribute over the phone throughout the event are asked to call 1-866-CARE MORE or donate online at any time here.