Dolly Parton Establishes Fund to Help Tennessee Wildfire Victims

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
December 1, 2016 Updated: December 1, 2016

Country music legend Dolly Parton says she’s establishing a fund to help victims of the wildfires that burned hundreds of homes and businesses in the Great Smoky Mountains area and left seven dead.

She says The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation are establishing the My People Fund, which will provide $1,000 monthly to Sevier County families who lost their homes.

More than 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg on Monday night and many of them are still nervously awaiting word of when they can get back in the city to see if they still have homes.

“I have always believed that charity begins at home,” Parton said on her website. “And that’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood Companies — including the Dollywood Theme Park; the DreamMore Resort; my dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; plus my Dollywood Foundation to help me establish a ‘My People Fund.’

The flames reached the doorstep of Dollywood, the theme park named after Parton. The park was spared any significant damage and will reopen Friday.

Fire erupts on both side of Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Nov. 28, 2016. (Jessica Tezak/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Fire erupts on both side of Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Nov. 28, 2016. (Jessica Tezak/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Nov. 28, 2016. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Nov. 28, 2016. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

Parton said she hopes the financial assistance will help people who lost everything get back on their feet again.

Epoch Times contributed to this report.