The Mountain Tough Recovery Team received a boost this week as The Dollywood Foundation pledged the organization at least $3 million from the My People Fund.
During a six-month period, The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund provided $10,000 to recipients whose primary residences were completely destroyed due to the November wildfires. The fund, which was established by Dolly Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon that took place in early December. That money provided an initial hand up to displaced families through the monthly check distribution.
At least $3 million will be contributed to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which will serve the continuing needs of residents during the critical rebuilding period ahead. One-hundred percent of those funds will go directly to families affected.
“Mountain Tough will help pick up where the My People Fund left off,” Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson said. “They will be staffed with case managers who will work to identify the immediate needs of residents and the funds will be used to address those needs. For example, it may help with transportation so someone can continue to be employed, or it may help with medicine for conditions caused by the fire.”
“We’ve spoken with so many individuals affected by the fires who say the My People Fund was critical in helping them get their lives back on track,” said Ellen Wilhoit, Chair of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team. “Once The Dollywood Foundation completed their monthly distributions, they were looking for the best way to put the remaining funds to work for the people of Sevier County. We are so honored by their gracious support of the Mountain Tough recovery efforts. Three million dollars is a tremendous sum of money and we are going to work with various agencies throughout the county to ensure our efforts are coordinated in a way to make sure the affected citizens of Sevier County receive the most impact from this gift.”
Mountain Tough assists individuals and families recovering from the wildfires by providing resources for the unmet needs of low-income families and individuals in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Sevier County area. The team seeks to restore the quality of life and provide for the long-term needs of those affected.
The Mountain Tough Recovery Team is led by Executive Director Janice Hendrix. Gatlinburg and Sevier County are paying the administrative fees, allowing 100% of donations like the My People Fund to benefit affected families directly. The Mountain Tough office will be located at 906 East Parkway, Suite 2 in Gatlinburg. The phone number is (865) 436-8112.
Anyone who wants to help the Mountain Tough Recovery Team with their efforts should visit www.mountaintough.org for information on how to donate, how to volunteer and much more. The website is the official source for all information regarding the recovery effort.