Here’s a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy year: Dolly Parton’s telethon for the victims of the Tennessee wildfire victims raised over $9 million. Dollywood’s sweetheart (and founder/proprietor) doubled down on her efforts to help her neighbors, holding a separate fundraiser to boost the My People fund, which she created to support families affected by the wildfires earlier this month. The event, which was held Tuesday night, featured performances from Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire, Cyndi Lauper, and more. The organizers now tell ABC News that donations exceed $9 million, including six-figure gifts from Paul Simon and Taylor Swift. Parton released this statement of gratitude:
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who have donated from all over the country and to my friends who donated their time, their talent, and money for ‘My People. The response has been so overwhelming that we haven’t been able to count all of the donations yet.
The My People fund provides $1,000 a month for six months to affected families in Tennessee. The November wildfires are estimated to have caused $500 million in damage.