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Dolly Parton Telethon Raises $9M For Wildfire Relief

A telethon sponsored by country music star Dolly Parton has raised millions of dollars to help those affected by the wildfires that engulfed parts of east Tennessee in late November.

The telethon, named “Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund,” has raised nearly $9 million so far, reports The Tennessean.

In a statement, the country music legend said: “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 ... 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.”

The telethon, which aired Dec. 13 on several networks, featured such recording stars as Cyndi Lauper, Don McLean, Kenny Rogers, Chris Young, Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire and of course Parton herself. The program is scheduled to be re-broadcast several times.

Parton established her My People Fund in response to the fires that killed at least 13 people, damaged hundreds of homes and businesses, and burned 17,000 acres, according to the The Washington Post.

The money raised will go to benefit victims of the fires, and ensure $1,000 a month for six months to each family who lost their primary residence in the fires.

As was originally announced on the website of her amusement park, Dollywood, the fund is being directed under the auspices of The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation. The official website provided some details:

As you may know by now, there have been terrible wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, the same mountains where I grew up and where my people call 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.’

We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. To aid in their recovery effort, the Dollywood Foundation will provide $1,000 a month to all of those families who lost their homes in the fires for six months so that they can get back on their feet.

Sources: The Tennessean, The Washington Post, Dollywood, Dollywood Foundation / Photo credit: Cherie A. Thurlby/Wikimedia Commons

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