The year 2020 saw a rise in altruism with celebrities across the globe donating to charities of all shapes and sizes as a way to do their part and give to those who require extra support due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Food banks are a top priority for many celebrities, recognizing the large number of families that are going hungry across the globe, but celebrities also donated to several other organizations during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are seven celebrities who donated during the pandemic.
7 Celebrities Who Donated During the Pandemic
- Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated $1 million which they split between food banks in Canada, Ryan Reynolds’ home country, and the United States. The couple urged the importance of donating to organizations such as Food Banks Canada as the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted organizations like it throughout 2020. Food Banks Canada saw a total donation of $28 million worth of food in 2020 and fed roughly 8 million families across Canada. Food Banks Canada fed more than 1 million people in 2019, while in 2020, roughly 3.2 million people accessed food banks across the country.
- Shakira: The singer donated ventilators and thousands of N95 masks to health care workers in her hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. The mayor thanked Shakira in a tweet saying, “One of the most beloved Barranquilleras in the world is Shakira and she is also one of the people who most love this city. Huge thank you for your contribution of thousands of N95 masks for our health care workers and ventilators that will save lives.” Shakira’s donation will allow doctors to continue to treat COVID-19 patients and safely deliver medicine to those in need.
- UB40: This British reggae-pop group did a cover of “Lean on Me” to help raise funds for NHS Charities Together. The organization includes more than 250 charities across the U.K. NHS donates approximately £1 million a day to provide care for those in need across the United Kingdom. It also strives in making medical breakthroughs to better help keep at-risk communities across the globe healthy and safe. NHS began several studies to see how COVID-19 affects various communities by examining the effects the virus has on school-aged children, communities’ mental health and the health of medical care workers, to better prepare for a pandemic of this scale in the future.
- Elton John: Elton John, the legendary singer and HIV/AIDS prevention advocate, pledged to donate more than $1 million to help support marginalized communities across the globe during the pandemic. John discussed on Twitter how he still intends to focus on preventing HIV/AIDS across the globe, but pushed for awareness of the coronavirus and urged those who can to donate to at-risk communities across the globe. Elton John’s Aids Foundation has donated more than $450 million worldwide while saving 5 million lives and supporting more than 3,000 projects to help end HIV/AIDS. In addition to the $1 million he donated, he also hosted a living room concert featuring Tim McGraw, the Backstreet Boys, Sam Smith, Dave Grohl, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. The concert raised more than $8 million for his foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
- Rihanna: The global superstar donated a total of $5 million to several different charities across the globe, one of the charities being the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The Committee focuses on helping refugees across 40 different countries by providing them with resources such as education, clean water, shelter, food and other necessities. In 2019, the organization supplied more than 1 million kids with education and provided a million more with clean water.
- Akshay Kumar: The Bollywood star donated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s CARES fund. Kumar donated Rs 25 crore, an amount equivalent to more than $3 million. The PM-CARES fund emerged in direct response to India’s lockdown plans to support citizens who are most at risk and strives to make India a healthier and cleaner country.
- Liam Payne: A former member of the band One Direction, Payne donated 360,000 meals through the Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust is an organization in the U.K. that works directly with food banks to donate/distribute food. The goal of the organization is to get food to the 14 million people, including 4.5 million children, who live at or below the poverty line, with the ultimate goal of negating the need for food banks across the U.K.
Celebrity donations during the pandemic ensure that those in need across the globe get the food, health care and shelter they require to thrive. It is important that individuals continue to support groups that give back well past the end of this pandemic and continue to focus on ways to help those in need in 2021 and beyond.
– Claire Olmstead