Celebrities pledge funds to aid Houston after Hurricane Harvey

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In the wake of Hurricane Harvey which has devastated in Houston, Texas, celebrities are banding together to pledge thousands of dollars to aid recovery efforts by different charities on the ground.

With at least 15 lives lost in flood waters, and catastrophic damage affecting the community, Kevin Hart began the celebrity aid efforts by promising US$25,000 ($31,422), as well as reaching out to other celebrities including Beyonce and The Rock to ask them to do the same as part of the Hurricane Harvey Challenge. Since then other celebrities including the Kardashian sisters, Sandra Bullock, Ruby Rose and J-Lo have all promised funds, as well as encouraged their fans to donate to the Salvation Army and Red Cross relief efforts.

“I’m calling this the Hurricane Relief Challenge…Lets go @therock @beyonce @chrisrock Jay Z Dave Chappelle @jerryseinfeild @iamsteveharveytv @justintimberlake #HurricaneHarveyReliefChallenge #prayforhouston …..I am getting a link together now people. Help me help Houston,” Hart wrote in his post, saying in the Instagram video that he wanted to start a “real challenge” to save lives.  He has since pledged US$50,000 (A$62,850) to the efforts.

Responding to his call-out Beyonce has donated a substantial amount to her childhood hometown, reported to be in the millions. In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, the 35-year-old said she was working closely with her team at her philanthropic initiative Beygood, as well as with her pastor, to “implement a plan to help” as many as they can. Speaking to ET, her lifelong pastor, Rudy Rasmus revealed the impact Beyonce’s efforts were already making on the community

“She’s starting out with a significant donation, and that donation is getting us to launch out into some areas that help us more effectively impact the communities that have been the most affected,” Rasmus said. “She has, over the years, been very generous to our cause, and we continue to work together. She has been a huge benefactor to our efforts here in Houston, Texas.”

A representative for Sandra Bullock confirmed to E! News that the star was donating US$1 million (A$1.25 million) to benefit the efforts of the American Red Cross. In a statement to the outlet Bullock, who owns a home in devastated Austin, Texas said, “I’m just grateful I can do it. We have to take care of one another.”

The Kardashians and Jenners have also answered Hart’s call on Twitter, with Kim, Kris and Khloe all confirming the family have pledged US$500,000 (A$628,456) to the challenge. “We have been watching the heartbreaking footage of the catastrophic flooding in Houston and our hearts go out to the people of Texas,” Kris Jenner wrote in an Instagram post. 

Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled and The Rock have all pledged US$25,000 each in donations, with the actor saying, “you gotta stay strong and you gotta hold on to faith,” in a video of support to the Houston community.​

Claiming Houston as his hometown for the past eight years, singer Drake said on Instagram that he too would be providing resources and funds to local groups, however the amount is currently unknown.

Other celebrities have also started their own campaigns to raise funds for different organisations in the Houston community, including Lena Dunham’s partner, songwriter and producer Jack Antonoff, who would be matching donations up to US$10,000 (A$12,569) towards the Montrose LGBT Centre if fans sent receipts. Ruby Rose, who is friends with Antonoff through Taylor Swift’s old squad, agreed to match his donation, plus give an extra US$10,000 to the centre.

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