Hollywood rallies for Harvey relief


In response to Hurricane Harvey that has devastated the homes of more than 185,149 people to date, celebrities of Hollywood have hosted various fundraising activities. Methods of donations include pledging direct financial aid to victims, launching influential fundraising campaigns, and collaborating with existing philanthropic foundations to supply victims with necessary supplies.

Hurricane Harvey is classified as a category four hurricane, which is measured on a scale of one to five based on magnitude of impact. As a category four hurricane, Hurricane Harvey’s wind ranged from 131-155 mph and caused damage to people, animals, and infrastructure at a catastrophic level. With an estimated 190 billion dollars of damage to infrastructure and half a million victims applying for federal aid, the hurricane has also inflicted extensive fiscal damage.

“As a hurricane enthusiast, Hurricane Harvey was disastrous in that it was estimated to result in the worst flood in the United States for the past 1000 years,” said Ashley Lee (12). “The previous record for the most amount of rain in the Texas area was around 48 inches, but Hurricane Harvey experienced more rainfall than that record by more than 3 inches, which implies the extent of damage done to all sectors of the affected regions.”

To combat such problems, celebrities within Hollywood have used their influential status as a means of helping those afflicted by the hurricane. The most common method was through direct donations to organizations involved in the process of aiding in the aftermath of the hurricane. For example, musician Steve Aoki has donated a total of 30,000 dollars to various Texas-based organizations such as the Houston Food Bank. In addition, reality star Kim Kardashian has pledged to donate 500,000 dollars to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

“I think the aftermath of the hurricane is a good example in which celebrities are using their influence for a good cause,” Ellie Cheong (11) said. “Often times, the public has a negative perception of celebrities because of their passivity in certain national issues. However, this issue with Hurricane Harvey has clearly shown how in times of crisis, celebrities will gladly use their fame to set a good example for others to follow.”

In contrast to direct donations, some celebrities have contributed to the cause by providing platforms for others to donate or give aid. For example, Bun B, a rapper from Texas, has organized a large-scale live telethon with other celebrities in order to appeal for donations, which raised more than 44 million dollars. In other cases, Beyonce has announced that her philanthropic organization, BeyGOOD, will partner up with local Texas organizations to implement aid plans.

“Although any form of aid is beneficial in this situation, direct donations have a drawback in that the effects of the cash can diminish quickly,” Kyuhee Han (10) said. “On the other hand, when celebrities promote organizations or establish aid programs, those have more of an impact because they provide a means for others to help as well.”