The tragic Gatlinburg wildfires that hit Tennessee last November destroyed hundreds of homes and left 14 dead.
In the wake of the devastating natural disaster, country music legend Dolly Parton launched the “My People Fund,” a financial assistance program for the Sevier County families impacted by the fires.
Faithwire reported last December that the Dolly Parton Fund pledged to give each family affected by the wildfires $1,000 a month for six months. And on May 5, 2017, the Dollywood Foundation cut its last $1,000 check, according a statement released by DollyParton.com.
“We started the distribution in December right around the longest night of the year and I know it felt dark and lonely for so many,” Parton said. “But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on.”
Back in March, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that 921 families were receiving monthly checks from Parton’s fund.
On May 5, the 71-year-old singer made a special announcement at Smokey Mountain Adventures in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Parton shared that the Dolly Parton Fund recently launched a partnership with the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, an organization that provides financial help, food and counseling to those in need. The singer added that the collaboration will provide $3 million in additional support over the next few months.
Families in the area have openly expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Parton’s financial help.
“I don’t know how to explain it, it’s really touched me good. And I appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” Charles Forgey, a man who lost his home in the wildfires, told WBIR-TV.
“I’m here to tell you, that little woman — if I ever see her, I’ll squeeze her,” Forgey’s wife, Jenny, added.
In addition to the partnership announcement, the brief statement released earlier this month said that a Wildfire Scholarship Fund, separate from the My People Fund, will be created to help local students whose families were affected by the fires. According to NPR, a $4,500 scholarship check will be cut for each junior and senior high school student in the area who lost his or her home to the wildfires.
Other Must-Read Stories: