Thomas Rhett and Wife Lauren Raise $250K for Orphans - and May Eventually Adopt One
Thomas Rhett was joined by Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line to raise money for 147 Million Orphans
Fans of Thomas Rhett know you don’t have to scroll far down his Instagram feed to see countless adorable photos of him and his wife Lauren Akins, the undeniable muse behind his newest single “Star of the Show.” And the country singer is a proud hubby too — he often tweets about the work Akins does with the 147 Million Orphans organization, encouraging fans to click over to her page for details of Akins’ interactions with young children on various mission trips to Uganda, Haiti and Honduras. It’s his wife’s passion for the project that inspired Rhett to host his first ever charity concert, held Tuesday evening in Nashville.
“This event was spurred by Lauren’s heart and 147 Million Orphans’ heart and by how much they love those kids,” the singer told PEOPLE exclusively at Thomas Rhett & Friends, which raised over $250,000 for the organization.
During the intimate gathering at The Old School, friends and fans of the couple enjoyed a farm-to-table dinner and bid to attend a private concert hosted by Rhett. The singer, 26, was joined onstage throughout the night by Dierks Bentley, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and producer/songwriter Shane McAnally, as well as singer/songwriters Russell Dickerson and Walker Hayes. The crowd was treated to plenty of hits, from Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” and “Crash & Burn” to Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane”, “Somewhere on a Beach” and FGL’s “Cruise” before ending the night with a post-show s’more roasting.
“We are super tight with TR and it means so much to us to be able come out tonight, support him and this amazing charity,” Kelley told PEOPLE. “We have been beyond blessed and any chance that we have to give back we are there!”
It was an extra special evening for Akins, who admitted volunteering with 147 Million Orphans — which provides for critical needs of children impacted by the orphan crisis and living in poverty — has helped fill a void. “This is what’s been missing from my life, this is what my heart has been ready for,” Akins told PEOPLE of the experience.
In addition to bringing medical supplies to orphanages, the group also provides for basic needs, including clean mattresses and covers. On one particular trip to Uganda, Akins, along with the 147 Million team, helped clean and rid an entire dormitory of bedbugs and later replaced all the mattresses including new sheets and bed covers.
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“When we were in Uganda, the boys and girls dorms were infested with bed bugs. When you ripped open the mattresses, the bugs scattered everywhere. They didn’t have a covering on the mattress, so when kids wet the bed at night, it would go into the mattress,” Akins, a certified nurse, explains. While trying to gather supplies for a trip, the pair found themselves at a Walmart in Denver, Colorado, buying all the sheets and mattress pads they could find because the local stores in Nashville had run out.
“They’re precious — you want to bring them all home,” Akins, 26, says of the children she gets to spend time with. “One day we’re gonna figure out how to bring them all home.” All joking aside the couple, who will celebrate their fourth anniversary next week, admit that adoption could be in the cards eventually, as the topic hits close to home.
“We both have a huge heart for orphans and I think definitely one day we’d want to [adopt],” Rhett, who hopes to join Akins on a trip later this year, said.
“Even before we got married, [adoption] is something I’ve been passionate about. My mother is adopted — I’ve been a product of that,” explained Akins. “If that’s how the Lord wants to design our family, we’ll roll with it. We definitely want kids.”
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