Paula Deen, others join celebrity phone bank for Smoky Mountains Rise Telethon


NASHVILLE (WATE) – Dolly Parton and a number of country music stars including Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss are set to perform in a telethon next week to help the victims of the deadly wildfires in Sevier County. WATE 6 On Your Side will air the telethon Tuesday at 8 p.m. 

“Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund” will air Tuesday, December 13, at 8 p.m. on ABC Tri Cities and the Great American Country cable channel. The three-hour telethon will raise money for the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, set up by The Dollywood Company, Parton and her dinner theaters to support families who lost everything in the fire.

Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, LOCASH, Chris Janson and Montgomery Gentry were announced Thursday to be taking part in the telethon as well.

A number of celebrities will answer phones during the telethon.  Paula Deen and her sons Bobby and Jamie, RaeLynn, Dailey & Vincent, Moonshiners’ Mark & Digger and much more.

The telethon will also be simulcast on several radio chains and the AXS TV, RFD-TV and Heartland Network channels.

“My home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is some place special,” Parton said. “Wildfires have affected many of the people—my people—who live in those beautiful mountains. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”

The Academy of Country Music announced that Taylor Swift will be matching the organization and ACM Lifting Live’s donation of $100,000 to the fund. The total comes out to be $200,000.

“The Academy and ACM Lifting Lives are honored to contribute in a meaningful way to Dolly’s heroic efforts to help the people of her hometown – and when Taylor heard what we were planning, she offered to match our gift, which gives it that much more impact,” said Tiffany Moon, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Academy. “We are so grateful to Taylor for her support to the Academy’s charitable efforts through the years, and for helping us and Dolly Parton assist families in need at a time of crisis.”

East Tennessee native and country music singer Kenny Chesney posted a call to donate on social media. “East Tennessee is my heart and my soul,” said Chesney. The singer is helping the Country Music Association donate $500,000 for relief efforts, a portion will go toward the fund, according to WKRN.

The fund will provide eligible families with $1,000 a month for up to six months. Any family who lost their primary residence, whether they owned or rented, is eligible. A pre-application form is available online.

During the telethon, viewers will be asked to call 1-866-CARE MORE to donate to the My People Fund.

Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the My People Fund may visit For those wishing to send donations via mail, those contributions should be sent to: My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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