Hollywood And Nashville Stars Raised $14M For Hand In Hand Hurricane Relief

Dozens of celebrities gathered Tuesday night for “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief,” which broadcast live across 15 networks and 150 radio stations nationwide while streaming on social media. Django Unchained co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx opened the hourlong special, with fellow presenting pairs Oprah Winfrey and Cher, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Robert De Niro and Jon Stewart, and Sofia Vergara and Tyler Perry helping to raise more than $14 million before the program ended for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the back-to-back Category 4 storms that ravaged Texas and Florida over the past two weeks.telethon-1
Viewers who donated by calling 1-800-258-6000 were thanked by celebrities including George Clooney, Andy Cohen, Daniel Craig, Jared Leto, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis.
Seinfeld star Jason Alexander has close family living near each recovery zone: a 97-year-old mother in Coral Springs, Fla., who “took it in stride,” and a brother in Houston who is still able to receive his dialysis treatments. “He’s okay for now,” Alexander told The Hollywood Reporter. “Those patients become priority patients, so he can do it, but it’s ugly.”

The actor had hope, he added, because of New Yorkers’ “generous” spirit: “If New Yorkers were not generous people of spirit and heart, New York couldn’t function. So it never surprises me when New York and New Yorkers come out and show that side of themselves.”


While CBS This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell, a Texan who reported from Harvey, noted that “there’s not a clear link with climate change” and these hurricanes, Steve Buscemi laughed while telling THR, “It just seems obvious that we are living in a time that is very dangerous with climate change and that if we don’t act, these types of storms, I think, are just gonna keep happening and it’s not going to get better.” He continued, “I don’t mean to be political, but I just wish that this administration would really pay attention to that and acknowledge that not only is there climate change, but that it is partly man-made.”


As a former firefighter, the former Boardwalk Empire star wants those watching the storm wreckage to remember that aid workers may be very much in need themselves. “We certainly learned that with [Hurricane] Sandy” in 2012, Buscemi said. “The Rockaways were really hard hit and there’s a big firefighting community that lives there. So a lot of these firefighters would spend most of their time helping other people when their own homes were flooded as well.”


The event live-streamed across YouTube and Twitter, and also aired live on the big four broadcast networks as well as BET, Bravo, CMT, Cumulus Media/Westwood One, E!, HBO, HBO Latino, iHeartMedia, iHeartRadio, MTV, MTV2, MTV Live, MTV Classic, Oxygen, SiriusXM and Univision.


Scooter Braun and Houston rapper Bun B organized the show, which will benefit United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Fund) through the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund managed by Comic Relief Inc. More information is available here.


Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Instagram
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