Celebrities Who've Done Some Really Nice Things for Others Lately
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
Move over Santa — Dwanta Claus is coming to town and he's ready to give back in a big way.
“Your good buddy Dwanta Claus is back to remind everyone this holiday season that it’s important we all give back however we can and have a little fun together along the way,” Johnson told PEOPLE.
The star is encouraging everyone who wishes to donate to #SmolderForGood to share their “best Jumanji-style smolder expression” in photos and share them to the Facebook fundraising page. Johnson even showed off his best face in a video, and soon, everyone from toddlers and their parents to pet bunny rabbits got in on the fun, too.
So far, Johnson has raised over $18,000 in just eight days, which is close to his total goal of raising $25,000.
The former first lady and best-selling author is another star who is making the most of Giving Tuesday. Mrs. Obama announced that she will be donating more than $500,000 in proceeds from merchandise around her bestselling memoir, Becoming, to support girls’ education worldwide.
“Over the past year I’ve been incredibly blessed and humbled by the response to my book, and I’m proud to channel that enthusiasm toward girls around the world,” she said in a statement. “My hope is that this donation will help more bold and brilliant girls reach their fullest potential, continuing upward on their path toward becoming the women they are meant to be.”
On Nov. 1, the actor teamed up with disaster relief organization Operation BBQ Relief and Wild Turkey Bourbon to cook, prepare and deliver meals to first responders as multiple wildfires rage across his “second home” of California.
McConaughey — who has been the creative director of Wild Turkey since 2016 — kicked off the bourbon brand’s annual “With Thanks” campaign in Los Angeles by making BBQ turkey dinners for firefighters and other first responders battling the flames in southern California, and personally thanking them for their hard work.
The Oscar winner helped put together 800 dinners, which were delivered to over 20 fire stations. An additional 800 meals were also prepared for local homeless shelters.
Instead of throwing a lavish party, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback celebrated his 32nd birthday by distributing food and supplies to the Bay Area’s homeless community.
Kaepernick, and his girlfriend Nessa Diab, visited a homeless encampment in Oakland, California, to pass out backpacks filled with food, air masks, clothes and other items provided by Kaepernick’s foundation, Know Your Rights Camp, KPIX reported. Additionally, Kaepernick supplied a taco truck that handed out free food.
Cena announced on Twitter that his upcoming film, Playing with Fire, in which he plays a firefighter, has inspired him "to help those who risk their lives to protect us all" and hopes that Paramount Pictures will follow suit.
“I want Paramount to do me one favor. I want them to pick a charity. Pick a charity that aids our first responders as soon as possible,” said Cena.
“On behalf of Playing with Fire, and out of respect to the people who I truly believe are heroes, my response will be to immediately donate half a million dollars to this cause,” he added.
He ended the heartfelt video by wishing everyone “the best of luck” and to “please stay safe.”
The Los Angeles Lakers star is another celebrity who did his part to help first responders battling the Getty Fire.
James took his beloved "Taco Tuesday" to the streets and reportedly spent $3,000, according to The Blast, on a taco truck that fed about 150 firefighters and police officers. The kind gesture was recognized by the mayor of L.A., Eric Garcetti.
“Thank you @KingJames, for generously sending a taco truck to support our @LAFD firefighters, first responders, and partner agencies working to fight the #GettyFire,” Garcetti wrote on Twitter.
James is also one of many residents who was forced to evacuate after the Getty Fire broke out on Oct. 28, 2019.
The actor donated $5,000, as part of the #GoodThingChallenge, to a family from Sandy, Utah, whose two young boys were involved in a car accident.
“Griffin (3) and Watson (18 months) were in a stroller when a car hit them. Watson suffered a broken neck, broken pelvis, and lacerated liver. Griffin suffered a full break skull fracture, broken clavicle, and abrasions,” Leto wrote, also linking to their GoFundMe page.
“I encourage everyone to do the #goodthingchallenge. Remember the smallest gesture can make a big impact…even if it’s just a hello and a smile,” Leto followed up in a tweet.
After the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in August 2019, the Southern Charm star began selling a limited-release Shep Gear hat with the Bahamas flag. 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to storm relief.
“It just broke my heart to see what was happening,” Rose told PEOPLE.
“I made these hats with the Bahamas’ flag on them and was like, ‘Let’s see what happens,’ " he said. “And I raised $25,000.”
Another philanthropic celebrity who dropped everything to help with Hurricane Dorian relief efforts was the former Real Housewives of New York star. After the hurricane hit, Frankel boarded a flight to join her B Strong team, her “disaster relief initiative that provides real-time emergency assistance” in times of crisis, and distributed medical supplies, feminine hygiene products, diapers, generators, water and more.
The reality star then urged her 2 million followers to consider donating to her B Strong Charity Program, which would help fund her relief efforts and provide cash cards, which she and her team handed out to people in the affected areas.
The singer, who was raised in Miami and whose parents are from Haiti, jumped at the chance to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas and ripped through Haitian immigrant settlements.
“When I first heard about the storm, I was shocked looking at the footage on television,” Derulo told PEOPLE. “I wanted to get over there as soon as I could.”
Derulo traveled to the Bahamas on Oct. 5 and 6 with volunteers from CORE, Sean Penn’s relief organization, and his own foundation, Just For You. The two organizations partnered for the star's trip, where he visited CORE recovery programs, clearing debris and spending time at Haitian settlements.
“I feel like people don’t know exactly how bad it is,” said Derulo. “When you think about the Bahamas, you don’t really think about devastation. You don’t think about it being a place where anything negative can happen because all you think of is paradise. Everything is gone. It’s surreal and it reminds you of a movie, like what the apocalypse looks like.”
Once he got there and interacted with the communities, he was inspired by the strength Bahamians had while dealing with the devastating aftermath of the hurricane.
“The work is nowhere near done,” Derulo added. “But their mentality is not about being upset about what happened.”
“It’s about ‘How do we get up?’ As opposed to ‘Everything is gone.’ It’s inspiring.”
The rapper shelled out a staggering $1 million to charities that wife Kim Kardashian supports as a gift for her 39th birthday. An elated Kardashian shared the news on Twitter, writing, “I got amazing gifts from my whole family and Kanye [got] me the most amazing bags. But he also donated $1 million to my favorite charities that work so hard on prison reform on my behalf from him and the kids. This makes my heart so happy!”
Alex Rodriguez & Jennifer Lopez
The soon-to-be married couple donated a year's worth of food to students who attend Tennessee's Jacksboro Elementary School after they saw a teacher’s viral post about how one of her students often goes hungry.
“Today I cried at work. Not because I hate my job, or that it is just too hard (it really is). Today I cried for a child, a child who so innocently talked about food, and the lack of it," Brooke Goins, a teacher at Jacksboro Elementary, shared on Facebook on Oct. 2, 2019. "He asked when the lady that puts food in his backpack was coming. He told me he was out of it at home and needed more … No kid should ever be hungry, ever.”
After reading the teacher's story, Rodriguez and Lopez pitched in and donated to Jacksboro Elementary School’s food pantry by contributing meals from their new company, Tiller & Hatch.
“We heard teachers were helping students bring home food when they didn’t have enough. When we saw this story, it brought tears not just to my eyes, but Alex’s as well!” Lopez shared on Instagram, along with a clip of her and Rodriguez Facetiming Goins with her students. “We are happy to be in business with partners who also believe no child should EVER have to go to sleep hungry. Everyone should have access to delicious, nutritious food. This was my favorite moment of the month and it’s one of the best things we’ve been able to do.”
The former NBA All-Star donated an accessible home to Allison Woods, whose son, 12-year-old Isaiah Payton, was hospitalized after being shot by a stray bullet on Aug. 17, 2019.
Payton, paralyzed from the chest down as a result of the shooting, was not permitted for release from the hospital since the family’s current home was not equipped to handle his needs.
That’s when O’Neal found the family a new house and pledged to pay rent for the first year to help Woods “get back on her feet.”
“No mother should have to go [through] that,” O’Neal told The A-Scene.
He also added, “I was watching the story and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us … it could have been my son.”