KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While it’s Dolly Parton who is celebrating a birthday, she still continues to be a gift giver.
WATE 6 On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel takes a look at some of Parton’s gifts to her East Tennessee community, and beyond.
The country music superstar once said, “I’ve been blessed in my life to become a celebrity, and when you are in a position to help, you should help.”
And help she has done. Time and time again.
In a particularly dark time for her beloved Smoky Mountains, Dolly Parton was a shining light.
Her My People Fund helped in the aftermath of the wildfires – a 6-month pledge to assist every family who lost their primary homes in Sevier County.
“I say it’s the least I can do. These are my people, this is my home, and I’m in a position to help and I should help and I’m thrilled to death that it’s worked out to where I can help,” Parton said in an interview at the time.
Parton has long been a supporter of her community.
For years now, her theme parks have dedicated days to raise money for Sevier County Food Ministries.
“They have Sevier County days at Dollywood and charge $5 and we get the $5. That has been going on for over 20 years. We have gotten over $1 million in donations from Dollywood and Splash Country also,” said director Jim Davis.
But Parton’s reach extends far beyond East Tennessee.
She’s made an impact on some of her youngest fans, not only across the country, but around the world.
“I think with kids, too, with the books that they read, it kind of inspires you to dream, and if you can dream, that will lead you to success and to other things, and that’s why I think it’s so important to get the books in the hands of all these special little kids,” Parton said in an interview.
One of her most recent contributions was a $1 million donation that helped fund the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.