Dolly Parton announced Wednesday evening the creation of the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, established by Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, to provide $1000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires.

In less than 36 hours, the fund raised more than $1 million, but the need is much greater.

Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County will be eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at dollywoodfoundation.org. Completion of the pre-application is not required but is encouraged to expedite the distribution process.

The first funds will be distributed Dec. 15-16 and Dec. 19-20 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the CARE MORE Assistance Center at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge. One check per household per month will be issued. All recipients must show a photo I.D. Families can receive aid for up to six months. Anyone needing assistance in the application process should call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

“We are proud to assist Dolly in the creation of the My People Fund,” said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. “We hope this serves as the first step to rebuilding for the families of the Sevier County community. We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.”

Jim Rule, CEO of World Choice Investments, LLC said, “It is our hope that the My People Fund will make a difference to those families looking for a way to move forward during this difficult time. The Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure families are honored to help Dolly provide this special support.”

“We are working to gain a better idea of the number of families affected by the tragedy,” said David Dotson, President of the Dollywood Foundation. “The My People Fund has already secured more than $1 million and climbing. But we know that substantially more donations will be required to meet the need.”

Significant donors to the fund include Verizon, Tanger Outlets, Miley Cyrus' Happy Hippie Foundation, CoreCivic and The Blalock Company.

Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the My People Fund may visit dollywoodfoundation.org. For those wishing to send donations via mail, those contributions should be sent to: My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

Please help the Dollywood Foundation share the word about this effort by using the hashtags #MyPeopleFund and #someplacespecial.

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