Dolly Parton has done much to aid the victims of the wildfires that raged through Sevier County, Tenn. in November 2016, including setting up the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon, and, through her My People Fund, providing $1,000 each month to Servier County families whose primary residences were destroyed by the fires.
But she’s not done.
At least $3 million from Parton’s My People Fund will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which will serve the continuing needs of residents during the critical rebuilding period ahead. This program will begin helping families on June 1.
“We’re still receiving money, so we aren’t finished yet,” Parton said. “Recovery will take some time, so a new organization—called Mountain Tough—has been created to help our people get back on their feet for the next three years. We’re giving at least $3 million to help this new organization begin the next chapter of our journey.”
Mountain Tough assists individuals and families recovering from the wildfires by providing resources for the unmet needs of low-income families and individuals.
“Mountain Tough will help pick up where the My People Fund left off,” added Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson. “They will be staffed with case managers who will work to identify the immediate needs of residents and our funds will be used to address those needs. For example, it may help with transportation so someone can continue to be employed, or it may help with medicine for conditions caused by the fire. The case managers will coordinate with county agencies to ensure needed assistance is not duplicated and achieves its maximum impact.”
The Dollywood Foundation also administered the final distribution from the My People Fund on Thursday (May 4), with recipients noticing an extra surprise when they received the check. Thanks to fundraising efforts, Dollywood Foundation officials were able to provide a $5,000 check to each family.
In total, recipients received $10,000. The fund, which was established by Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon which took place in early December.
“The My People Fund has been a great success,” said Parton. “I want to thank my team, the Dollywood Foundation, my friends in the music business and the thousands of people from all over the country who opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us.”
Visit www.mountaintough.org for information on how to donate or get involved.