Dolly Parton surprises Sevier County families with final $5k My People Fund check


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hundreds in Sevier County have received help from Dolly Parton’s My People Fund.

Thursday, the final checks were given with a special surprise inside: $5,000 instead of the usual $1,000. Steven Johnson said the extra money made all of the difference.

“You come here expecting a $1,000 check and you get a $5,000 dollar check,” said Johnson. “By her doing this, it really shows a lot.”

Parton announced on Friday that there was $3 million remaining in the fund. The money will be given to the Mountain Tough fund to continue to help fire victims.

Related: Dolly Parton on My People Fund, what’s next for foundation

David Dotson with the Dollywood Foundation says it shows a lot about the community as well.

“We certainly anticipated we would raise the money we need. We obviously jumped off a cliff and Dolly made commitments but honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dotson.

For many, the extra money means a quicker and easier rebuild of their homes.

“The biggest loss that we had was our personal property stuff so it helps us be in a better situation to replenish furniture and some of the things we weren’t going to be able to replenish for a while,” said Brett Gaff.

Previous story: My People Fund distributes nearly $900K to Sevier County families in first days

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