Dolly Parton’s Star-Studded Telethon Raises $9 Million for Tennessee Fire Victims
Dolly Parton’s star-studded Smoky Mountains Rise Telethon has raised nearly $9 million .
The country music icon launched the My People Fund at the beginning of December to raise much-needed funds for whole communities left homeless by the wildfires that hit areas of Tennessee in November.
Parton also held a telethon on Tuesday night, which aired on a host of networks, and featured more than 20 live and pre-taped performances from stars ranging from Cyndi Lauper, Don McLean, Kenny Rogers, Chris Young, Chris Stapleton and Reba McEntire.
According to the star, the telethon and fundraising efforts have raised $9 million for the community so far.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who have donated from all over the country and to my friends who donated their time, their talent, and money for My People,” Parton told The Tennessean in a statement.
“The response has been so overwhelming that we haven’t been able to count all of the donations yet; right now, in total, we have raised about $9 million for the folks who lost everything in Sevier County.”
Celebrities including Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Paul Simon and Dierks Bentley also made significant donations to the My People Fund as did the Academy of Country Music, ACM Lifting Lives and the Country Music Association.
The fire broke out on November 23, killing 14 people and scorching 17,000 acres in the tourist community. More than 1,300 families are known to have lost their homes.
Parton has pledged she will donate $1,000 -per-month for six months to families affected by the disaster through the new charity drive.
And the Jolene singer is still heartbroken to think about all the people who lost their homes in the fires, which forced the temporary closure of her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“These are the woods I roamed around in as a little kid,” she told Entertainment Tonight recently. “We were blessed none of my family were injured and lost in the properties, but so many of my friends and neighbors lost everything.”