Dolly Parton’s held a telethon Tuesday-night for victims of the recent wildfires in eastern Tennessee. This telethon was very very successful raising $9 million & COUNTING for those in need. NashvilleGab reports that while Parton had tried to hit a fundraising goal of $13 million at the start of the three-hour telecast, she was only at $9 when the telethon ended but they are still counting and the final total will be announced soon. The name of the telethon was Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund. It aired live from Nashville and on facebook live and featured performances from Chris Stapleton, Alabama, Kenny Rogers, RaeLynn, and dozens more country stars. While Taylor Swift and the Academy of Country Music had previously pledged $100,000 apiece to the fund, Paul Simon also chipped in $100,000, while Nashville’s Belmont University likewise donated $100,000 and the Tennessee Titans contributed $144,270. Also the telethon recieved smaller, but gracious donations from Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Paul Simon and Dierks Bentley but also from families across the country. News Channel 5 reports that the phone lines were so busy at one point during the telethon that a second line was added for callers to use.
Just before the telethon got underway on Tuesday evening (12/13), Dolly talked about the big stars that lent their talent and money to the cause… “You know I didn’t even have to ask these people called us and said, ‘Is there anything we can do to help?’ I mean of course Taylor Swift is always one of the first people to ever join in to anything bless her heart and Miley Cyrus she jumped right on board… I mean everybody was just calling and saying, ‘What can we do?’ And all these great artists and all these you know wonderful friends of ours so, I personally did not have to call a person.“