Country music legend Dolly Parton gave out the first checks today to victims of the Gatlinburg, Tennessee wildfires. The fires struck in November of 2016 killing 14 people and destroying the buildings and homes of thousands of other people. Parton who was born and raised in Tennessee and still calls it home, said the wildfires broke her heart, at the sheer loss for her friends and neighbors. When the losses were calculated Parton said she would set up a fund, using her own money and raising the rest. The fund was set up to give a thousand dollars a month for 6 months to almost a thousand people.
The fund raised over 80 thousand dollars in the first few weeks, and the first checks for victims were released today. The fund called, ‘My People Fund’ has over 9 million dollars in it now said an official of the fund today. In addition to the checks, people have donated furniture and clothing and household items, which has also been going to the victims. A bulk of the money was raised when Parton hosted a star studded three hour telethon.
The event was held in December of 2016 and broadcasted on several cable networks and streamed live online. Parton had no trouble lining up talent, she called on some of her closest friends, Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire, LoCash and Chris Stapleton. Parton at the time said “I’m truly honored that these artists are giving their time and energy to help us raise money for everyone effected by the wildfires. I’ve got so many great friends in the industry and so proud that they were so ready to step up and do the right thing to help others.”