Oprah Winfrey donates $10M to coronavirus relief, joining Leonardo DiCaprio's Apple Food Fund

Oprah Winfrey announced Thursday that she is donating $10 million to help with coronavirus relief.

In an IGTV video, Winfrey spoke to chef José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen, and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, and revealed her donation.

Winfrey said $9 million of her pledge will be divided among charities close to her, including the Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko, Mississippi.

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The other $1 million will go to America’s Food Fund, which is aimed to help low-income families, the elderly, individuals facing job disruptions and children who rely on school lunch programs.

“I know not everybody can donate a million dollars, but I feel like this is the central place to if you really want to do something,” Winfrey said. “I know I can trust my money in your hands.”

Winfrey’s full conversation with Andrés, and Babineaux-Fontenot is featured on the latest episode of Oprah Talks COVID-19 on Apple TV+.

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@chefjoseandres and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot have teamed up with @leonardodicaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs and @Apple to launch America’s Food Fund to help feed local communities. I was struck by the work these organizations are doing and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help. I believe that America’s Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need and am committing $1 million to this fund to support those facing food insecurity. I am donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up. For more on this Fund and how everyone can be of service, tap the link in my bio to watch this free AppleTV+ conversation.

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Leonardo DiCaprio helped launch America’s Food Fund, which has already raised $12 million to help communities impacted by the coronavirus.

The food fund will work with hunger relief organizations World Central Kitchen and Feeding America. It will be hosted by GoFundMe.

DiCaprio serves as a co-founder of America’s Food Fund with philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs. Apple and the Ford Foundation are also providing money to help launch the new initiative.

“In the face of this crisis, organizations like World Central Kitchen and Feeding America have inspired us all with their unwavering commitment to feed the most vulnerable people in need,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “I thank them for their tireless work on the frontlines, they deserve all of our support.”

The new coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened hundreds of thousands of people and killed more than 47,000 worldwide, crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.

“In times of need, a plate of food is both vital nourishment and a message of hope from the community, that we care and we’re here to make sure that tomorrow, things will be better,” said Andrés.

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Organizers say donations to America’s Food Fund are being accepted and will be used on efforts to get meals to those who need them.

“With millions losing their jobs and programs like school lunches in jeopardy, making sure people aren’t going hungry is of the utmost urgency,” said Powell Jobs.

Many other celebrities have donated to coronavirus relief efforts like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

The couple announced in March that they’ve donated $1 million to two food drive organizations, Food Banks Canada and Feeding America.

“I think we can all agree, COVID-19 is an a–hole,” Reynolds wrote on Twitter. “If you can help, visit, FeedingAmerica.org and/or FoodBanksCanada.ca.”

COVID-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low-income families,” the Deadpool actor wrote, adding: “If you can give, these orgs need our help. Take care of your bodies and hearts. Leave room for joy. Call someone who’s isolated and might need connection.

“Hugh Jackman’s # is 1-555--HUGH,” Reynolds joked.

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Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) donated $5 million to the response efforts against the coronavirus.

The money will support “on-the-ground partners working on the frontlines of disaster response especially those focused on protecting and serving marginalized communities, helping the most vulnerable in the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa prepare for what is to come,” the foundation said in a statement.

The funding will be channeled through Direct Relief, Partners In Health, Feeding America, the International Rescue Committee, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and others.

“Never has it been more important or urgent to protect and prepare marginalized and underserved communities, those who will be hit hardest by this pandemic,”CLF’s executive director Justine Lucas said in the statement.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

—With files from The Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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