Dolly Parton Launches 'My People Fund' to Help Tennessee Fires Victims | NBC Bay Area
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Dolly Parton Launches 'My People Fund' to Help Tennessee Fires Victims

Approximately 300 buildings have been destroyed in Gatlinburg, and more than 14,000 people were evacuated from the town on Monday

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    Country music icon Dolly Parton is pitching in to help the victims of the Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Sevier County, Tennessee, where she grew up.

    The fires have killed at least seven people and another six are still missing, NBC News reported. 

    “I’ve always believed that charity begins at home,” Parton said in a video, announcing that she will provide $1,000 a month for six months to displaced families affected by the deadly fires in the area. Her Dollywood Foundation has established the My People Fund and she invited fans to donate to it online.

    “I know it’s been a trying time for my people, and this assistance will help,” she added. 

    'This Is a Fire for the History Books': Tennessee Fire Chief

    [NATL] 'This Is a Fire for the History Books': Tennessee Fire Chief
    Evacuees forced from their homes and businesses by rapidly spreading wildfires in East Tennessee Monday night are getting their first look at the damage left behind. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016)

    Approximately 300 buildings have been destroyed in Gatlinburg and 14,000 people had been forced to flee their homes, according to The Associated Press.

    Many families are still separated and have not heard from their loved ones. Wolf McLellan, who was staying at a nearby motel, lost his dog, Kylie, to the disaster.

    "She was too scared to move with the smoke and sirens and she just stood there. I didn't want to drag her. I couldn't drag her," he told the AP. "I figured the humane thing to do would be to just cut her loose."

    Meanwhile, first responders, some of whom have been personally affected by the fires, are conducting a search and rescue mission. While they’ve found bodies, they’ve also been able to rescue people who were initially unable to evacuate.

    Parton lauded organizations like the Red Cross for their efforts in Gatlinburg this week. “The support, as always, has been overwhelming,” she said.