Belfast Telegraph

Dolly Parton ends My People Fund hand-outs with cash boost for families

The country star created the charity drive to help those affected by last year's Tennessee wildfires.

Dolly Parton and her Dollywood Foundation partners have given the families affected by November's (16) Smoky Mountain wildfires a little extra boost as they shut down a funding campaign.

Recipients of the $1,000-a-month (GBP772) My People Fund found an extra $4,000 (GBP3,000) in their cheques on Thursday (04May17).

The Jolene singer launched the initiative in December (16) with a star-studded telethon, during which she pledged to give all the Sevier County families left homeless and desperate as a result of the fires, which also threatened her Tennessee themepark Dollywood, $1,000 a month.

"The My People Fund has been a great success," Parton said in a press statement, released on Friday (05May17). "I want to thank my team, the Dollywood Foundation, my friends in the music business and the thousands of people from all over the country who opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us.

"Over the last five months, we’ve given nearly 900 families $5,000 to help them recover. Yesterday, we had our last distribution and I went over to... say thanks to all the volunteers and to help give out a few cheques myself. We matched what they’ve received already with another $5,000 cheque. I know $10,000 can’t solve everything, but I do hope the money will help them to dream again."

In addition to providing initial monetary support to displaced families through the monthly cheque distribution, the remaining funds from the My People Fund will continue to help the people of Sevier County - at least $3 million (GBP2.3 million) will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which will serve the continuing needs of residents as they rebuild their communities.

"We’re still receiving money, so we aren’t finished yet," Parton added. "Recovery will take some time, so a new organisation, called Mountain Tough, has been created to help our people get back on their feet for the next three years. We’re giving at least $3 million to help this new organisation begin the next chapter of our journey."

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