Country singer Dolly Parton created a fundraiser Wednesday to help the victims affected by the raging wildfires in Gatlinburg, a tourist community in Tennessee. Parton is a Tennessee native who owns Dollywood, a theme park, located in nearby Pigeon Forge.
“As you may know by now, there have been terrible wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, the same mountains where I grew up and where my people call home,” she said in a statement. “I have always believed that charity begins at home. That’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood Companies – Including the Dollywood Theme Park, and DreamMore Resort; My dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation to help me establish the ‘My People Fund.’”
The goal of the fundraiser is to help people who lost “everything” in the fires. The Dollywood Foundation promised to give $1,000 per month to each family who lost their homes for six months “so that they can get back on their feet.”
For those who want to donate money, simply go to DollywoodFoundation.org. Donations can be sent via PayPal. Parton promised more information would be available Friday.
Parton’s fundraiser attracted the attention of her Twitter followers. Her Wednesday tweet about the organization was liked more than 7,600 times and shared over 5,000 times by her 4.29 million followers.
Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by the blaze.
By Thursday, all the wildfires were out, but nearly 8,500 people remained without power in Sevier County, where Gatlinburg is located. More than 14,000 people were evacuated.
Dollywood was not affected by the historic wildfires.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella