It’s been one week since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas city of Houston with a catastrophic flooding that has left more than 30 people dead.
It’s been reported that the floodwater is beginning to recede in some parts due to a decline in rainfall but millions have been evacuated from their homes and properties have been left damaged. With Harvey being the costliest flood in American history and its effects surpassing those of Katrina and Sandy, celebrities – and indeed the rest of the world – have risen to the occasion in raising funds for victims.
Comedian, Kevin Hart was the first to go public with the Hurricane Harvey Relief Challenge where he called on co-stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Dave Chappelle, Beyonce and Steve Harvey to make donations to victims.
Here are the celebrities who have donated so far:
The ‘Titanic’ actor through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation announced a $1 million donation to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund in the wake of the destruction. DiCaprio established the foundation in 1998 to “benefit environmental projects and climate-related causes”.
The creator of the ‘Madea’ series announced his own $1 million donation via Facebook on Thursday. He also used the opportunity to defend Pastor Joel Osteen of the Lakewood Church who has been heavily criticised the shutting the doors of his megachurch to evacuees.
Perry said, “I know that there’s been some controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening the doors of the church. Joel and Victoria are amazing people — there’s no way that they would lock people out of the church or not let people seek shelter.”
$250,000 will be going to the church, another $250k to Beyonce’s pastor church and the remaining will be distributed to the necessary quarters.
The actress said “I’m just grateful I can do it. We have to take care of one another” when she pledged $1 million to the Red Cross Foundation. She has a home in Austin, Texas and spends a lot of time there. She also donated the same amount to victims of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004.
While she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, she broke down in tears as she talked about the devastation. “My grandma is sitting here, my mom is here, and I go home to my seven dogs, and if I didn’t have that anymore, it would be really hard. I’m really happy to help in anyway that I can, and I hope people understand and can put themselves in those people’s shoes, and just know what it feels like to have everything taken away from you”, she said.
Ellen later announced, “Miley has just told us backstage that she is donating $500,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief”.
The Kardashians and Jenners responded to Kevin Hart’s challenge with a pledge to donate $500,000 to the victims. The mother of the clan, Kris Jenner wrote on Instagram: “We have been watching the heartbreaking footage of the catastrophic flooding in Houston and our hearts go out to the people of Texas… We must all stand together in times of need!”
The donation will be split between The Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
He accepted Kevin Hart’s challenge via an Instagram post and pledged $500,000 to the cause. The ‘Privacy’ singer added that he will be donating directly to the people and not through Red Cross as he’s skeptical of them.
Brown wrote, “This is for everybody out there in Texas, for the relief and everything. I accept the challenge and I implore and encourage everybody else, who can change and make a change for this, to please donate and help out. Love you all”.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
The Rock has pledged a $25,000 donation while encouraging to do so as well. He made it known in an Instagram post where he wrote, “Me and my family know what you’re going thru. We survived the eye of Andrew and became stronger – so will you. All my love and strength”
Together with his son, Asahd, DJ Khaled announced via an Instagram video that he was accepting Kevin Hart’s challenge and would be donating $25,000 to victims. He wrote, “HOUSTON TEXAS my prayers are wit you ! I just sent 25k your way to help all the families in need and help the city HOUSTON TEXAS 🙏🏽 @kevinhart4real I accepted your challenge @kevinhart4real bless up ! GOD IS THE GREATEST!!!”
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez
The power couple pledged to donate $25,000 each to victims of the hurricane. They made their decision known in an Instagram video where Lopez said, “We’ve been watching everything that’s been going on down in Houston and our hearts are just breaking for all the families that are displaced. All the victims, seeing these pictures of children and all footage, it’s just devastating and we just want to do our part to help”.
The rapper also pledged $25,000 after accepting Kevin Hart’s challenge. He wrote, “They say Faith without works is DEAD!!!! We ALL need to WORK on coming together & utilizing our resources collectively to do some meaningful shit to people who need US more than ever!!! @kevinhart4real salute for responding with a challenge that WE ALL NEED TO ANSWER!!!! #Pray4Houston #USorELSE”