By Robyn Collins
Dolly Parton asked her country superstar friends to support her Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund and they stepped up big time. The benefit has raised nearly $9 million so far, reports The Tennessean. This number is expected to rise, as the telethon will be broadcast multiple times in the coming days.
The program aired Tuesday and featured more than 20 live and taped performances from country stars such as Parton, Kenny Rogers, Chris Young, Chris Stapleton and Reba McEntire and performers outside the genre, including Cyndi Lauper and Don McLean.
Celebrities including Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Paul Simon, Dierks Bentley, Stapleton and Young made significant donations to the My People Fund, as did the Academy of Country Music, ACM Lifting Lives and the Country Music Association.
Money raised through Parton’s My People Fund will go to victims of the wildfires that ravaged parts of Parton’s native Sevier County at the end of November.
The fund was launched by Parton, The Dollywood Foundation and Sevier County businesses, and has committed to paying $1,000 a month for six months to each family who lost their primary residence in the blaze, which killed 14 people and scorched 17,000 acres in the tourist community. More than 1,300 families are known to have lost their homes.
Watch a short recap with many of the telethon’s stars below, courtesy WJHL-TV in Jackson City, TN.