On November 28th, East Tennessee found themselves in the middle of a living nightmare when wildfires began to consume the Great Smoky Mountains. Due to the area’s drought and high winds, the fires spread quickly, affecting the citizens of Sevier County.
As of Tuesday (December 6), the fires have become more contained, but they have left a path of destruction behind them. USA Today reports that a total of 1,753 structures have been destroyed and 14 people have been killed as a result of the fires.
When country legend Dolly Parton heard the news about the fires, she released a statement saying she was “heartbroken.” Parton grew up in Sevier County, and the city of Pigeon Forge serves as the home to her Dollywood theme park.
Dollywood was spared in the fires, which Parton said “was a blessing.” But she knows that not everyone was so lucky. That’s why on November 30, she made a pledge to donate $1000 each month for six months to every family who lost a home in the fire.
Parton established a My People Fund through her Dollywood Foundation in order to provide assistance to those affected by the fires. 100% of all proceeds will go toward helping families who lost their homes in Sevier County.
Only six days after Parton created her My People Fund, she has already helped raise an incredible amount. According to the Dollywood Company, the My People Fund has raised $1 million so far to help assist the families affected by the fires.
That total is sure to increase over the course of the coming days and weeks. More of Parton’s fellow music stars are starting to draw attention to her cause. Kenny Chesney, who also grew up in East Tennessee, posted a heartfelt video message for the victims on Monday (December 5). He also encouraged all of his fans to donate to the My People Fund if they could.
Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus has also expressed her support for her campaign. Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation is even listed as one of the sponsors of the fund on the Dollywood Foundation page. More artists are sure to come out to support Parton and her cause on December 13, when she plans to host a telethon for the fund.
If you’d like to donate to the My People Fund, you can do so by visiting the Dollywood Foundation website here. You can also mail in a check to the following address:
The Dollywood Foundation
My People Fund
111 Dollywood Lane
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Those who mail in a check donation should indicate that it is for the My People Fund on the memo line. If you’d like a tax receipt, be sure to include your return address so one can be sent to you.
Tune in to the video below to hear Parton talk more about the My People Fund and its purpose. Like Parton, we’re continuing to keep the people of Tennessee in our prayers.