Dolly Parton announced Thursday that she will be donating $1,000 a month to families affected by the devastating wildfires that have ripped their way across Tennessee’s Sevier County.
Roughly 15,000 acres of the resort-heavy area of eastern Tennessee along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been destroyed by the fires. The blaze has left at least seven people dead, more than 700 buildings damaged and 14,000 people evacuated.
Firefighters were able to prevent the flames from engulfing Parton’s Dollywood theme park, which is in Sevier County near where Parton grew up, though officials did evacuate guests from the resort and its cabins.
Earlier this week, the country star described herself as “heartbroken” when she heard the news, and she announced her plan to help just days later.
“Now I’ve always believed that charity begins at home, and that’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood companies … plus my Dollywood Foundation to help me establish a My People Fund,” Parton said in a video she tweeted to her 4.29 million followers.
“Now we want to provide a hand up to all those families who have lost everything in the fires. And to recover, we want to make sure the Dollywood Foundation provides $1,000 a month to all those families that have lost their homes in the fires, until they get back up on their feet.”
Parton also invited others to join the effort by donating to the My People Fund by visiting her website. She also said more details about the effort will be released Friday (Dec 1).
Parton has been widely known for her extensive charity work throughout her life, much of which supports education. The singer, songwriter and actress founded a children’s literacy program in the 1990s called the Imagination Library, which started by sending children in her home county one free book a month from birth to the age of 5. The program has since grown to include communities all over the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In 2009, the Royal Mail Service delivered books to children living in the most remote inhabited place on Earth, Tristan da Cunha, in the south Atlantic Ocean.