Dolly Parton is proving that her heart will always be in Tennessee.
The country music icon has launched the “My People Fund” to raise money for victims of the wildfires that have ravaged the Great Smokey Mountains region and resulted in 2,000 people being evacuated. Around 100 buildings have been destroyed, with the hardest hit areas being Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, according to ABC News.
As part of The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation, Parton’s fund will provide $1,000 each month to Sevier County families who lost their homes.
“I’ve always believed charity begins at home and my home is some place special,” Parton said in a video message released Wednesday. “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.
“We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet,” she continued.
Parton, 70, was born in Sevier County as the fourth of 12 children. Her father was a farmer and construction worker and the family — which she has since described as “dirt poor” — lived in a one-room cabin. She went on to become the most honored female country performer of all time and started in the film “9 to 5.” Her latest project is “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors” on NBC.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the “My People Fund” can visit dollywoodfoundation.org. More information on the program will be released on Friday.
A spokesperson with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday that the fires were “right on the doorstep” of Dollywood, ABC News reported, but crews were able to stop the flames from damaging the park overnight.