Artists are turning on their microphones and actors are pressing play on the cameras, this time for a good cause. From red carpets to award shows, celebrities are trading in their suits and ball gowns to lead relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
On Friday, Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast and made a “catastrophic flooding” two days later according to the Weather Channel. Harvey was named a category 4 hurricane. On the other hand, NPR classified hurricane Irma as a category 5 and “hurricane Irma was the longest-lasting powerful hurricane or typhoon ever recorded, worldwide.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims the bill for reconstruction after the hurricane could reach up to $180 billion. Florida officials from different agencies have released a statement on Sept. 12, reporting that they had “spent nearly $250 million on preparations and recovery efforts,” states the Associated Press reports. Media company, Accuweather, estimated the damages for hurricane Irma and Harvey could reach up to $200 billion.
These disasters have led many celebrities to make generous amount of donations to charities in Texas and Florida.
Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt created a relief fund online at a site called Youcaring. As of Sept.13, the page has accumulated more than $32 million in donations. The last Sunday before the opening of NFL season, Watt and his Texans teammates loaded trucks with donated relief goods for distribution to the devastated areas, reported the Washington Post. Jimmy Fallon announced on his “Tonight Show” they would be donating $1 million to Watt’s relief fund. Despite the circumstances celebrities are reaching out any way they can to help and “in the face of this tragedy, we saw good. We saw communities banding together,” Fallon said in a preview clip from the Sept. 5 episode.
Hollywood’s A-list, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock, to name a few, have also pledged $1 million to other charities reported by “Rolling Stone.” A video of recording artist, Beyonce with her daughter Blue Ivy, is circulating on social media where she’s seen in Houston serving meals to the survivors of Hurricane Harvey.
On Sept. 12, Houston rapper Bun B, with music executive Scooter Braun, organized a telethon called “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief” which aired on ABC, CBS, CMT, FOX and NBC. “Rolling Stone” confirmed appearances by Beyoncé, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Adam Sandler and Julia Roberts. With a star-studded cast to draw in viewers and pledges, all donations made in the telethon benefit various charities for those affected by Harvey and Irma. The telethon, which was originally for Hurricane Harvey, expanded its relief efforts to Florida and the Caribbean. The telethon has raised more than $44 million as of Wednesday, Sept. 13, reported ABC News.
In Florida, the ice hockey teams Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, along with the NHL and NHL Players Association are donating $2.7 million to hurricane Irma relief efforts, reported by CBS Miami. The Panthers have started “grassroots relief” by delivering ice and water to South Florida residents.
No matter the status, people have united for a greater cause and to do good in the world. “Natural disasters don’t discriminate,” Beyoncé said at the telethon. “They don’t care if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor.”
Donations are still being accepted at this time. Ways to donate:
Text: “Give” to 80077 to donate $25