The star-studded, three-hour "Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountains Rise" telethon aired live on Great American Country last night, raising millions for Tennesseans affected by the recent fires, which killed 14 people, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and scorched more than 17,000 acres in and around the Smoky Mountains.
Dozens of country music legends performed the Nashville event and answered phones. The Academy of Country Music, Taylor Swift and Paul Simon each donated $100,000, and the Tennessee Titans gave more than $140,000.
“I can’t say the fire didn’t come close,” Parton said. “It was a good year for us to be safe, but everybody is not that fortunate, and that’s all the more reason we should be grateful for what we have. That’s the great thing about the country music business. I just love how the country people just come to our rescue… It’s just amazing how everyone works together.”
The telethon benefits Parton’s “My People Fund,” giving families affected by the fire $1,000 per month for six months, to help them get back on their feet.
To learn more about the Fund or make a tax-deductible contribution, visit dollywoodfoundation.org. For those wishing to send donations via mail, those contributions should be sent to: My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 37863.
You can also help the Dollywood Foundation share the word about this effort by using the hashtags #MyPeopleFund and #someplacespecial.
Missed the telethon? Watch Dolly and special guests Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and many more here.