This week, Dolly Parton hosted a telethon to help raise money for the victims left devastated by wildfires in East Tennessee in late November.
On November 28, two huge wildfires spread quickly overnight because of high winds in the Smoky Mountains of the state. Sadly, the fires ended up taking the lives for 14 people, and destroyed over 2,400 homes and businesses, leaving at least 1,300 families displaced.
To try to help, Dolly who’s from Tennessee herself, hosted Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit on Tuesday night to help those in the area. Throughout the event, which was broadcast live on TV, country stars gave their time, either performing on stage or answering calls from those wanting to donate to the cause. Big donations came from The Academy of Country Music, Taylor Swift, and Paul Simon, who each donated $100,000. Belmont University donated $155,000 while the Tennessee Titans gave $144,270. Overall, the benefit has raised nearly $9 million, with donations still being counted!
In addition, Dolly plans to use her My People Fund to give the displaced families $1,000 per month for six months to help get them back on their feet. “My home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is some place special,” the country singer said. “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.”
It’s awesome that Dolly and all of these other folks came together to help these people rebuild their lives. These huge fires and the horrible effects are heartbreaking to read about, but the money raised during this telethon will definitely be able to make a great impact.