More Than 100 Reality Stars Raise $135,000 (and Counting) for Give Kids the World
The annual Hearts of Reality event raises funds for the children's charity in a fun-filled weekend
If you were anywhere near Orlando, Florida, last weekend, you may have seen some familiar faces – the stars of TV’s biggest reality shows, all united for a charitable cause.
Stars of Survivor, , Big Brother and other reality shows participated in Hearts of Reality, an annual gathering that raises money for Give Kids the World, a children’s charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
The weekend, which was sponsored by Lexin Capital, raised more than $135,000 for the charity – and more money is still coming in. (Fundraising continues for a month.)
For the uninitiated, here’s how Hearts of Reality goes down: for months before the event, the reality stars raise money online – and donate money from their own pockets. Then fans come to the weekend in Florida and hang out with the stars at various events. (This year, they did everything from attending Pirates Dinner Adventure to an awesome ’80s party.)
But the heart of the event is when the reality stars pay a visit to Give Kids the World, where have a “Pirates and Princesses Party” with the children.
PEOPLE co-sponsors the kickoff VIP party, where the reality stars mingle with sponsors and fundraisers. Upon arrival at the venue, the stars were given a swag bag with one of Oprah Winfrey‘s two-time favorite things – a matte blue steel tumbler from Corkcicle. (The celebrities used the tumblers all weekend long.)
Celebrity baker Anna Cakes supplied cupcakes for the guests.
“Visiting Give Kids the World and meeting people who actually change kids’ lives every day is humbling,” Survivor winner Mike Holloway tells PEOPLE. “Just being around the kids’ joyous spirits made me smile. These people impacted me in a way I won’t forget.”
Adds Boston Rob Mariano, “It’s a chance for the stars to have fun and see each other, but it’s really to raise money for a worthy cause. This is the only event I do.”
The event also had an autograph signing for more fans to meet and greet with the reality stars. (Food at the event was provided by Paramount Fine Foods)
“These reality stars are not only able to bring an incredible amount of awareness to the organization, but also raise a considerable amount of money,” organizer Mike Nunez tells PEOPLE. “Even more families with children facing life threatening illnesses will get to experience all that Give Kids The World has to offer.”