Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dolly Parton Helping Victims of Tennessee Fires

Photo © Bruce McCamish (flickr - used by permission)

14  people dead, over 140 injured, over 1750 structures destroyed or inhabitable - this the sad result of the Tennessee wildfires in Sevier County. Country singer Dolly Parton now announced that she will help displaced people with monthly payments and a telethon to help the victims is planed for next Tuesday (12/7). In the meantime two juveniles were arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and charged with aggravated arson. They are suspected to be connected to the fires. 

Dolly Parton who not only was born and grew up in the area, but the area is also where she has several entertainment businesses and restaurants, the main attraction being Dollywood. As you can see in the cover picture by Knoxville photographer Bruce McCamish the flames came pretty close to the DreamMore Resort, which is part of the Dollywood complex. As you can see on the interactive map from Sevier county (via Weather.com) below, the 4000 people town of Gatlinburg got hit really bad. Fortunately most of downtown was spared and the town will reopen for business this coming Friday. And while a visit and spending money in the region is a good thing, it can't be the only thing.



Dolly believes "that charity begins at home," and that many of the families being affected by the wildfires are "family." So Dolly, with some of her business entities came up with the My People Fund a home-based charity, through her non-profit Dollywood Foundation. 100 percent of the donations will go to the affected families and help is immediate - people who will register to be helped will be given a check on the day of their registration.  (All the necessary information to help out can be found at the bottom of the blog.)
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“My home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is some place special. Wildfires have affected many of the people—my people—who live in those beautiful mountains. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”

Every family that lost their primary residence, as owners or renters, is eligible for $1000 a month support, until they get back on their feet again.



Dolly with a little help from some of her friends, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss will have a three hour telethon "Smoky Mountains Rise" to benefit the My People Fund on Tuesday, Dec 13 (7pm CST) on US TV station Great American Country. (GAC.) Besides being on TV, the event will also be simulcast through several on-air and digital radio platforms like IHeart Media, Cumulus Media's NASH Nights LIVE and others.

Additionally, other celebrities joining "Smoky Mountains Rise" will be announced in the coming days.

Here are the necessary links and contacts if you would like to help out: 
To contribute to the My People Fund, visit dollywoodfoundation.org or send by mail to My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
During the telethon, you can call 1-866-CARE MORE to donate to the My People Fund.

You can share this with the following hashtags as well #MyPeopleFund and #someplacespecial.

Source: Webster PR, Bruce McCamish (flickr), Sevier Couny via weather.com (interactive map), gatlinburg.com

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