Dolly Parton and The Dollywood Foundation administered the final distribution from the My People Fund on Thursday (May 4th) with recipients receiving an extra surprise. Thanks to fundraising efforts, Dollywood Foundation officials were able to provide a $5,000 check to each family, not just the $1000 they were expecting. Beginning last December, the My People Fund provided $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose primary residences were completely destroyed due to the fires that destroyed much of the area in November.
In total, recipients received $10,000 as a hand-up to help start their rebuilding efforts following the fire, and some of the checks were hand-delivered by Dolly. The fund, which was established by Dolly Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon which took place in early December.
Dolly said, “The My People Fund has been a great success. 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 The LeConte Center to say thanks to all the volunteers and to help give out a few checks myself. We matched what they’ve received already with another $5,000 check. I know $10,000 can’t solve everything, but I do hope the money will help them to dream again.”
At least $3 million of the remaining My People Fund will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which will serve the continuing needs of residents during the critical rebuilding period ahead. Donations may be made online at mountaintough.org.