Hollywood stars and compassionate Americans poured out en masse for Hand in Hand, a telethon to raise money for survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. From Julia Roberts to Demi Lovato, some of the country’s most powerful entertainers banded together for performances, prayers, and to work the phone bank for incoming donations during the telethon, which raised over $44 million.
According to ABC, one of four networks who hosted the telethon, $5 million came from Apple and $1 million each from Albertsons Cos. and Merck. The NBA Players Association contributed $500,000 and pledged to match any professional basketball player’s personal donation up to $20,000.
“We come together today to love on people that have been devastated by the hurricanes,” Stevie Wonder said at the start of the telethon. “When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves.”
“Anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent,” he later added, contributing to the show’s political undercurrent and an urgency to overcome party lines in the current climate and fight for humanity.
Donations went to Comic Relief USA and will be divided up among local charities in the Texas areas affected by Harvey, and now Irma in Florida as well.