Telethon for hurricane relief raises more than $44 million

Posted September 14, 2017

The fundraiser was originally created to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, but organizers Scooter Braun and Bun B decided that Tuesday night's efforts will also benefit those who were affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Tuesday night's star-studded "Hand in Hand" benefit for hurricane victims raised more than $44 million total, officials say. It barreled into the Florida Keys on Sunday, where 90 percent of homes are believed to be destroyed or heavily damaged.

Foxx predicted the need for another telethon to raise money for those areas devastated by Hurricane Irma and as a native Texan admitted he found the images of flooded Houston neighborhoods with which he was once familiar particularly stirring. Announcing Apple's promise to give $5 million, Stephen Colbert joked it was coincidentally "also the price of the new iPhone".

The telethon was streamed live from different phone banks strategically located in Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, New York, and Los Angeles. Usher and Blake Shelton came together for a powerful acoustic version of "Stand by Me". "When tough times hit, this is who we are".

Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Cher, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were among those who helped raise $14.5m (£11m) during the hour-long event. "We're all in this together".

It opened with Stevie Wonder performing Lean on Me and featured stars recounting some of the more heartbreaking and heartwarming episodes from the storms. Later, Justin Timberlake made a plea to viewers, saying, "Let's give and give and give what we can".

In a video message, Beyonce, who was born in Houston, said: "We're all in this together". "They don't see if you are an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor". Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans united for a moving version of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends". That includes ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, BET, Bravo, E!, HBO, MTV, Oxygen, Univision and CMT.

Funds raised from this telethon are set to go to several organizations, including the Rebuild Texas Fund, which are spearheading Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts.