"New York and Los Angeles are very special places to me," Ryan Seacrest tells PEOPLE

By Elizabeth Leonard and Ashley Boucher
April 13, 2020 10:00 AM
Advertisement
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ryan Seacrest is joining the list of celebrities doing what they can to help during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Live with Kelly and Ryan host, 45, is donating $1 million to help with relief efforts in New York and Los Angeles amid the ongoing public health crisis, including $750,000 earmarked for first responders in New York.

“New York and Los Angeles are very special places to me and so I wanted to do something in the immediate to give back in these unprecedented times,” Seacrest tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“After seeing a news report about first responders sleeping in their cars in New York to avoid putting their loved ones at risk, I wanted to do something to help make sure these New Yorkers stay safe while they’re away from their families busy taking care of ours,” he says.

Three-quarters of Seacrest’s donation will be set aside to house and feed 200 first responders with the FDNY and EMTs in apartment housing in New York City for the next six weeks through the First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Ryan Seacrest
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Recently, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes surprised patients at Children’s National Hospital with a virtual visit with help from the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

Seacrest shared a clip from the couple’s visit on Instagram, writing, “Just when the kids thought their video call with @Camila_Cabello couldn’t get any better, @ShawnMendes enters the chat. Thank you both for hanging out and pulling off this surprise.”

The American Idol host regularly supports children’s hospital charities through his namesake foundation, which sets up broadcast media centers at pediatric hospitals across the country. Seacrest spent his 44th birthday surprising patients at the Seacrest Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Seacrest has been performing his hosting duties for both Live with Kelly and Ryan and his KIIS FM morning radio show from home as he social distances during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier this month, the star gave a “shoutout” to “healthcare professionals, studio managers and celebrity guests who continue to work with our studios every day to provide happy distractions through virtual dance parties, live performances, game shows, and more.”

“As we navigate through our new normal, I’m reminded that this has been a lifestyle for many of the long-term pediatric patients I’ve met across the country,” he wrote on Instagram, sharing photos of patients. “They’re familiar with isolation, but now have to manage with even fewer visits for everyone’s safety. In some hospitals, this means 1 parent at a time, in others it means no visitors at all.”

Seacrest added, “There’s a lot of chaos and uncertainty in the world right now, so it’s incredible to see these kids and their idols escape together for a bit.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.