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Oprah Winfrey speaks on stage during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Food & Hunger

Oprah Donates $10 Million Towards COVID-19 Relief Efforts


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Across the world, governments are announcing lockdowns, curfews, social distancing, and other steps aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. While these World Health Organization recommended steps are needed to help stop COVID-19, they are also highlighting global inequalities like food security. You can join us in taking urgent action to tackle COVID-19 while protecting the rights of the world's most vulnerable people through our Together At Home campaign here.

Oprah Winfrey has joined the growing number of celebrities contributing funding and awareness-raising support to the COVID-19 relief efforts.

The billionaire has announced a contribution of $10 million to help food banks in the United States reach more people, as increasing numbers of families are struggling to support themselves financially.

Winfrey, who made the announcement on April 2 on Instagram, said how she was “struck” by the work being done by America’s Food Fund — one of the organization's supported by her donation — which was launched on April 2 by chef José Andrés, charity boss Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs. 

“While everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help,” she added

Babineaux-Fontenot is the chief executive officer of the second-biggest charity organization in the US, Feeding America — a national network of 200 food banks. Andrés' World Central Kitchen (WCK), which provides meals to people impacted by natural disasters, will also benefit from America’s Food Fund.

@chefjoseandres and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot have teamed up with @leonardodicaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs and @Apple to launch America’s Food Fund to help feed local communities. I was struck by the work these organizations are doing and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help. I believe that America’s Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need and am committing $1 million to this fund to support those facing food insecurity. I am donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up. For more on this Fund and how everyone can be of service, tap the link in my bio to watch this free AppleTV+ conversation.

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on

Since launching this month, America’s Food Fund has been working to help ensure food security for vulnerable Americans impacted by COVID-19.

“Food insecurity in America is growing at a rapid pace,” according to the organization’s website. “COVID-19 is accelerating the problem.”

COVID-19 has disrupted life across the world. Schools have shut down and, in many  countries, businesses that do not provide medicine or food aren’t allowed to operate — with millions of people around the world now not knowing where their next paycheck will come from

Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization on Tuesday released a report warning that COVID-19 is expected to wipe out 195 million jobs worldwide in the second quarter of 2020. The Washington Post has reported that 10 million Americans lost their jobs in March.

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“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 37 million people [in the United States] struggled to know where their next meal might come from on a daily basis, a number that we are seeing rise at an exponential rate,” explains America’s Food Fund.

Winfrey added: “I believe that America’s Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need and am committing $1 million to this fund to support those facing food insecurity.”

The remainder of Winfrey's donation will reportedly go to other organization's supporting vulnerable people in the US through the pandemic. 

She also called on anyone who can afford to donate money towards food security to do so, no matter the amount.

It’s a sentiment echoed on America’s Food Fund GoFundMe page, which states: “We have an opportunity to come together to support our neighbors in this time of critical need.”

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The page was set up to raise $15 million for WCK and Feeding America. The money will benefit low-income families, the elderly, individuals facing job disruptions, and children who rely on school lunch programs for their meals.

Andrés said: “In times of need, a plate of food is both vital nourishment and a message of hope from the community, that we care and we’re here to make sure that tomorrow things will be better.” 

“Now more than ever – for our frontline heroes, our most vulnerable neighbors, and our out-of-work restaurant workers – WCK is prepared to make sure that food is part of the solution,” he continued.

You can join the global efforts against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic by urgent taking action through our Together At Home campaign. You can urge world leaders to step up funding to global health efforts; learn more about the virus and how to keep yourself healthy; and urge leaders to protect the rights of refugees and the world's most vulnerable people; among other actions.

You can see all of Global Citizen's COVID-19 coverage here.

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