Dolly Parton wasn’t kidding when she said her Smoky Mountains Rise telethon to benefit the victims of the Tennessee wildfires raised millions of dollars this week. The donations are still being counted, and the tally is already at a staggering $9 million.
“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,” Parton said in a statement. “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 star-studded televised event featured performances by a host of country legends, including Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams Jr., Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss, Michael W. Smith, Chris Janson, Big & Rich, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, Cyndi Lauper, Don McLean, Amy Grant, Alabama, Aaron Lewis and Rhonda Vincent. Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Paul Simon, Dierks Bentley at the NFL’s Tennessee Titans donated significant amounts to the fund as well. The Tennessean reports that the telethon will broadcast multiple times in the coming days, so the tally is expected to continue rising.
Parton founded the “My People Fund” in early December after wildfires tore through the Great Smoky Mountains, killing 14 people and destroying 2,400 homes and businesses. With it, Parton has pledged to donate $1,000 a month to Sevier County families who lost their homes.
“I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet,” she said in a video announcing the fund.
To contribute to the “My People Fund," visit DollywoodFoundation.org.