Dolly's "My People Fund" gives surprise amount for final checks


Sevier County residents picking up their final distribution from Dolly Parton's My People Fund on Thursday received surprise checks for $5,000 instead of the $1,000 they expected, our sister affiliate WBIR reported.

Since December, the fund has given $1,000 checks to people who lost their homes in the November wildfires each month. Nearly 1,000 families have been receiving assistance from the fund.

The plan was for families to receive $1,000 a month for six months.

The Dollywood Foundation says extra donations allowed them to make these final checks larger than planned. Each recipient received a check for $5,000 on Thursday.

Parton and the Dollywood Foundation announced the My People Fund just two days after the devastating fires swept through Sevier County. Officials say the fires damaged or destroyed a combined total of 2,545 buildings in Sevier County, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, including businesses, homes and public buildings.

The sixth and final check distribution will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the CARE MORE Assistance Center, located at the LeConte Center, 2986 Teaster Lane, in Pigeon Forge.