Dolly Parton Hosting ‘Smoky Mountains Rise’ Telethon For Victims Of Tennessee Wildfires, Explains Why It’s Personal For Her

Dolly Parton will be hosting her “Smoky Mountains Rise” telethon to raise money for the victims of the east Tennessee wildfires.

The three-hour special, titled Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on GAC, AXS-TV, RFD and the Heartland Network, according to Rolling Stone. The telethon will also be streamed live on USA Today and its affiliated local newspaper websites, and will be broadcast by Cumulus Media’s Nash Nights Live, TuneIn’s Country Roads channel and select iHeart Media stations.

For her telethon, Dolly Parton has enlisted the help of her fellow country music singers. Along with country legends Reba McEntire, Hank Williams Jr., Alabama, and Kenny Rogers, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Locash and Lauren Alaina will also be performing. Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich and Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Cyndi Lauper and Don McLean are also on the bill.

Ahead of Tuesday’s telethon, Dolly spoke about why this cause was so important to her, and why she decided to take it upon herself to help the victims of the wildfires. Dolly explained the importance of helping those affected by the fires in a question and answer video released by the Dollywood Foundation.

“It’s personal for me to help the people from the wildfires because that’s my home, these are my people, these are my neighbors, these are people I grew up with,” Dolly said. “Their businesses, their homes, I mean this is part of my life. They may not be blood kin, but they’re still my people.”

“It’s my personal responsibility because I’m in a position to help. I think any time that you’re in a position to help, you should. And these are my people, this is my home and this is where I make a living. Dollywood has been so good to me, so I’m not one of those artists that just thinks it’s all about getting. I want to give back. And I always try to do that through the Dollywood Foundation, and so this, when this came up with these wildfires, I mean we ran to really get a chance to try to help everybody that we could. But it is my personal responsibility because it’s home, it’s family.”

Parton previously announced that those who were victims of the wildfires would receive $1,000 a month from the My People Fund for up to six months. The families whose primary residence (renters or homeowners) is a complete loss or is uninhabitable are eligible to apply for assistance, and others can donate to the cause on the Dollywood Foundation’s website, which states that 100 percent of the funds will go directly to the families who were displaced by the fires.

The funds raised from Dolly Parton’s telethon will also go directly to the victims.

“The ultimate goal is to raise the money that we need to really help these people rebuild and get back to life as normal, so that’s why we’re doing telethons and have so many of my friends that are making major donations,” Parton said. “I, of course, am trying to do my part in every way that I can so it’s just going to take everybody and we’ve had so many generous hearts to offer it up because the Great Smoky Mountains is a beautiful place and we need to have it back in order. It’s home.”

[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]