Dolly Parton Pledges $1,000 Per Month to Families Who Lost Homes in Tennessee Fire
Dolly Parton has pledged to lend a helping hand to Tennessee residents who lost their homes to wildfires that have ravaged the area.
The country music icon is perhaps the best known native of the state's Great Smoky Mountain region, where thousands have been forced from their homes in Sevier County.
In a video message to those affected and to those interested in donating, Parton said she has asked that the Dollywood family of companies donate monthly to each family that lost a home.
"I have always believed that charity begins at home. 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," the singer said.
For the next six months, the fund intends to give $1,000 per month to each family.
Parton said she hopes the fund will help families in and around her native Gatlinburg get back to normal in the wake of the tragedy, which has left seven dead.
"We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires," she said. "I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet."
The area isn't just where Parton grew up — it's home to Dollywood. Flames reached the edge of the singer's namesake, 150-acre theme park this week but it was spared any significant damage.
The AP reported that more than 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg Monday night and many of them have been forced to wait for days to see if they still had homes.
Slight relief from the unrelenting fires came midweek, however, as drenching rains swept across eastern Tennessee and helped to finally stifle the flames.