Not long after last November’s wildfires killed 14 people and destroyed “more than 2400 structures” in the Great Smokey Mountains region of Tennessee, Dolly Parton came to the rescue of her neighbors in Sevier County by launching the My People Fund. The fund quickly raised upwards of $9 million for area families whose homes were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.
The Knoxville Sentinel reports that the fund was able to issue checks to 921 residents of Sevier county. Said Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson, “People left homeless by the fire can get $1,000 cash per month for six months.”
[Dotson] said 1,275 people applied, of whom only 227 were rejected—but 150 of those never responded after the initial application. Some of the remaining 75 received other assistance, he said.
Parton, arguably the most famous person from the region, singlehandedly created countless jobs after buying an old theme park and converting it into Dollywood, which is now the “largest employer” in the area. (If you’re ever there, I recommend seeing the “My People” show, which stars several of her family members.)
Though the My People Fund is no longer accepting donations, you can find more options for sending money here.