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Dolly Parton, Dollywood
Via Instagram/@dollyparton

Dolly Parton helps raise $700,000 for Tennessee flood relief

‘This was just one small way I could help,’ says the charitable country music icon

Dolly Parton — AKA the country icon who donated $1 million to help fund the development of the COVID-19 vaccine — has helped raise a further $700,000 to provide aid amid devastating flooding in her home state of Tennessee.

Raised through the donation of ticket sales from her Dollywood theme park, as well as other attractions, in early October, the funds went directly to the social services organisation United Way of Humphreys County. The organisation was chosen at the suggestion of Parton’s fellow country musician Loretta Lynn, after a foreman at Lynn’s ranch was revealed to have died in the floods. 

“After the Sevier County wildfires in 2016, Loretta was one of the first who reached out to offer anything she could,” Parton says in a statement. “It meant so much to me that Loretta – and so many folks – were ready to give in any way they could. This was just one small way I could help Loretta’s people for all they did to help my people.”

“I hope that this money can be put to good use to help the people of Middle Tennessee with what they need during their recovery.”

Several counties were affected by the August 21 flood, which saw over 15 inches of rain fall over a short period, though Humphreys County was hit hardest. More than 20 people are reported to have lost their lives, while more than 500 homes and 50 businesses were damaged.

Back in February, Parton was recognised for her philanthropic work by Tennessee lawmakers, who proposed a statue in her honour in the grounds of the state’s Nashville Capitol. Parton later turned the honour down, however, saying: “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” 

Previously, she has also turned down the nation’s highest civilian honour, a presidential medal of freedom, after being offered it twice by former president Donald Trump.