Stars Giving Back This 2021 Holiday Season

From volunteering at soup kitchens to donating to Toys for Tots, 'tis the season for these big names to give back

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Derek White/Getty

Just call him Shaq-A-Claus! Shaquille O'Neal surprised an Atlanta school with toys and treats as part of a Pepsi Stronger Together event on Dec. 20 in McDonough, Georgia.

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Kanye West

Saint West, indeed. Kanye quietly donated the majority of the more than 4,000 toys given away at a Dec. 19 event in the Englewood neighborhood of his hometown of Chicago.

"I'm so proud that Kanye is, once again, responding to our request to help the children of Englewood and beyond," Alderman Stephanie Coleman said, per ABC7. "He is no stranger to our community. His presence has always been felt in our neighborhoods and he loves visiting, but this Christmas he has truly been our modern-day Santa Claus."

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June Diane Raphael
Feeding America

On Dec. 17, actress/comedian June Diane Raphael volunteered with Feeding America at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank alongside members of The Jane Club — the platform she cofounded for women to build community and support.

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Bella Hadid
The Image Direct

Bella Hadid organized a toy drive in New York City ahead of Christmas, on Dec. 18.

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To celebrate his holiday film Angel Falls Christmas, streaming exclusively on IMDb TV, Chad Michael Murray dressed up as Santa and stopped by a Los Angeles news station on Dec. 15 to donate nearly 400 toys to HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles).

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Nick Cannon
Michael Simon/StarTraks

Nick Cannon dressed up as Santa to deliver Toys"R"Us goodies to St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Queens, New York, on Dec. 14.

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Katie Holmes
MIchael Simon/StarTraks

Katie Holmes joined Epic, a digital reading platform for kids, for the Dec. 7 "My Winter City" event in N.Y.C., reading her favorite holiday books to children from the Hit the Books program in Harlem.

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Macklemore. Brooks Running

This season the "Next Year" rapper Macklemore is doing good in his home city of Seattle, where he teamed up with Brooks Running to help support Mary's Place, a local shelter that serves people experiencing homelessness.

Macklemore and the athletics company are calling on people across the country to join their Run Merry movement — an initiative that'll be donating $50,000 to Mary's Place — by nominating loved ones on social media, who just may receive a "surprise" for doing so.

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Kelly Bensimon
Yvonne Tnt/BFA

Kelly Bensimon was among the celebs who came out in N.Y.C. on Dec. 10 in support of the Good+Foundation, donating toys for kids at alice + olivia designer Stacey Bendet's annual bash at Zero Bond.

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Paul Scheer
Feeding America

On Dec. 10, actor/comedian Paul Scheer volunteered with Feeding America and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at the St. Ferdinand Church for a day of giving back ahead of the holidays.

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Maluma cuts the ribbon of the new center for his charity “ El Arte De Los Suenos - The Art of Dream”
Cesar Pimienta - Tes

Back home in Colombia on Dec. 9, Maluma opened a new Medellin-based center for his foundation, El Arte de Los Sueños, where children can come practice music and dance and receive psychosocial care.

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Ryan Derrick
Daniel Swartz for Yellow Ribbons United

Former NFL star Derrick Dockery and his family hosted the Yellow Ribbons United Winter Wonderland party for more than 200 military families at Washington, D.C.,'s Nats Park, with a surprise visit from the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman — and the Grinch!

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cardi b
Cardi B/Facebook

On a holiday episode of her Messenger Watch Together series Cardi Tries, Cardi B and model Karreuche worked together in a supermarket — and at the end of their day, told the employees they were getting two weeks' additional pay to show appreciation and gratitude for their service during the pandemic.

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Juju Smith-Schuster
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers star JuJu Smith Schuster popped up at a Wal-Mart over Thanksgiving weekend, surprising one little girl with her dream Christmas present. Given his history of giving back at the holidays, there are probably more heartwarming surprises to come!

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Anwar Hadid and Bella Hadid
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

Bella Hadid joined largest hunger relief organization in New York City, the Food Bank for NYC, to distribute food to neighbors in need at annual holiday meal distribution at the organization's community kitchen in Harlem over Thanksgiving weekend.

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Ellie Krieger
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

The host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, Ellie Krieger, spent her Thanksgiving weekend at the Community Kitchen and Pantry with the Food Bank of New York and Feeding America.

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Tiffany Boone
Courtesy Feeding America

At the St. Ferdinand Church with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Feeding America, Nine Perfect Strangers actress Tiffany Boone handed out groceries following the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Jennie Garth
Courtesy Feeding America

Jennie Garth was among the celebs serving dinners at Union Station Homeless Services with Feeding America in Pasadena, California, around Thanksgiving.

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Emily Tosta
Courtesy Feeding America

Actress Emily Tosta did the same, helping in the kitchen.

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Courtesy Feeding America

Migos rapper Quavo took time out of his Thanksgiving holiday to give back with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Feeding America.

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kevin hart
Kevin Hart. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

As Osmo's Chief Kindness Officer for the holidays, Kevin Hart recently delivered holiday cheer to three household heroes via an unexpected video call, telling them they won a complete collection of STEAM starter kits and games by Osmo, in addition to a tablet. The three lucky parents, who entered into Osmo's holiday giveaway in November but had not received any notification of final result, were incredibly surprised and overwhelmed by the actor's call telling them "you won!"

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On Thanksgiving eve, New Orleans Saints players Alvin Kamara and Cameron Jordan surprised more than 100 local grocery shoppers by paying their tabs as they were checking out. (The reactions were priceless!)

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Real Housewives of New Jersey star Tersa Giudice and her fiancé Luis "Louie" Ruelas spent their first Thanksgiving together as an engaged couple by helping feed homeless LGBTQ youth at the Ali Forney Center in New York City. They dropped off food for around 150 people, along with her daughters Gia, 20, and Milania, 15.

"This year's THANKSGIVING was very special!" Teresa wrote in the caption. "@louiearuelas @_giagiudice @milania.ggiudice and I joined our @jasecannon and friends at the @aliforneycenter to feed over 150 beautiful souls."

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Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause and boyfriend Jason Oppenheim spent Thanksgiving at the Los Angeles Mission, distributing meals.

"This is a cause close to my heart," Stause, who experienced homelessness as a child, wrote on Instagram, "and I feel like speaking on it helps dismiss the conventional stereotype some people have of who these people are."

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Dane Cook and Tiffany Haddish attend the Laugh Factory's 41st free Thanksgiving dinner
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Dane Cook and Tiffany Haddish joined forces on Nov. 25 at the Laugh Factory's 41st free Thanksgiving dinner at the comedy club in West Hollywood.

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President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, assemble Thanksgiving meal kits
Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

On Nov. 23 in Washington, D.C., Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden assembled Thanksgiving meal kits during a visit to D.C. Central Kitchen.

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Joe Biden
Brendan Smialowski/getty

The day before, the Bidens visited Fort Bragg in North Carolina to serve meals to soldiers and their families.

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Liev Schreiber at Feeding America
Courtesy Feeding America

Liev Schreiber brought one of his children and a pal to the Food Bank for New York City at the Union Square Greenmarket for a day of giving back on Nov. 12, with Feeding America. The trio collected leftover produce and other food items from local farmers to be distributed to New Yorkers in need.

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Kevin Hart volunteering in Philly
Courtesy HUNGRY

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Kevin Hart partnered with HUNGRY — a tech-enabled food and engagement platform powered by local chefs — to provide more than 1,000 meals to the people of his native Philadelphia.

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Marlo Hampton and Naturi Naughton handing out turkeys in Atlanta

In Atlanta on Nov. 22, Real Housewives star Marlo Hampton and Power actress Naturi Naughton teamed up with Nouveau Bar & Grill to hand out 600 turkeys and sides to families who need them.

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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Chef José Andrés
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

During his Nov. 22 visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in N.Y.C., World Central Kitchen chef José Andrés announced his $1 billion Climate Disaster Fund, to ensure no person in the world goes hungry as a result of future climate disasters.

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Malin Akerman (L) and January Jones attend the Los Angeles Mission's Annual Thanksgiving event at the Los Angeles Mission on November 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
David Livingston/Getty

The day before Thanksgiving, Malin Akerman and January Jones joined the crew at the Los Angeles Mission to serve meals in Downtown L.A.

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Always one to give back, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson surprised one lucky fan at a late November screening of his new film Red Notice with a custom truck.

"Takes care of his 75 year old mom.
Personal trainer.
Leader at his church.
Provides support and meals for women victimized by domestic violence.
Proud & humble Navy veteran.
Kind human being," Johnson wrote of the man he surprised.

"Oscar said it right, just before he drove away ~ it's just love.

That's all it is, brother.
Just love."

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Country singer Tracy Lawrence frying up hundreds of turkeys for Nashville's homeless
FOX Nashville Twitter

On Nov. 23 in Nashville, country singer Tracy Lawrence got to work frying turkeys for the Nashville Rescue Mission for the 16th year in a row, according to Music City's Fox 17. Over the years, the singer and his crew have served more than 6,400 turkeys and raised $1 million for families facing food insecurity.

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Fat Joe
Courtesy Krasdale Foods

On Nov. 24, Fat Joe teamed up with Krasdale Foods to give away 3,000 grocery bags filled with more than $36,000 worth of food (plus some other cool goodies, right) at three different locations of his sneaker/apparel store, UP NYC, in New York.

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Wonya Lucas
Lucas Rossi/Peach Hill Media

In celebration of Hallmark Channel's new movie Christmas CEO, airing Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. ET, Crown Media president and CEO Wonya Lucas, actor Paul Greene and Build-A-Bear Workshop president and CEO Sharon Price John greet Santa at an L.A. Build-A-Bear Workshop, with a special donation for Toys for Tots.

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