Celebs Reach Out to Hurricane Victims

Oprah calls on famous friends to help hurricane victims

Oprah Winfrey has enlisted famous friends, including Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Jamie Foxx to help her bring hope to those devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The TV talk-show queen cut short her summer break last weekend to host shows from America’s storm-ravaged Gulf region, where people are desperately trying to piece their lives back together. And she took a few famous faces with her. Foxx helped serve up food to 5,000 hurricane victims in a shelter in Dallas, Texas, while Matthew McConaughey and Faith Hill brought joy to survivors in Zachary, Louisiana, and Gulfport, Mississippi, respectively, in a show that aired Sept. 6. Meanwhile, Winfrey‘s pals John Travolta, Lisa Marie Presley and Chris Rock joined Roberts for segments taped for today’s show. Travolta piloted his private plane to shelters in the southeast, delivering much needed vaccines and helping to replenish medical supplies. A tearful Winfrey hosted the show from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, where thousands of hurricane survivors are seeking temporary refuge and medical help.

Foxx devastated by hurricane horror stories

Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx was left devastated after agreeing to help relief workers serve meals to hurricane victims in his home state of Texas. The actor teamed up with pal Oprah Winfrey as she tried to spread a little joy amongst those left homeless and desperate in shelters in Texas by Hurricane Katrina, but Foxx had no idea how moved he’d be. He says, “Some of the stories that touched me I don’t even know if you can air. The one that really got me was the 62-year-old man and what he said is, ‘I have a stent put in for a heart problem but I can handle it,’ but he said what he couldn’t take was the blatant disregard for someone like your grandmother–80 years old, sitting and no one coming to help. It should never happen. These people are Americans… It has just been so sad that we would treat our folk like this. [This is] a day I won’t forget soon.”

McConaughey uses phone therapy to help

Matthew McConaughey has been putting his mobile phone to good use by connecting families split by Hurricane Katrina. The big-hearted Texan joined forces with media mogul Oprah Winfrey last weekend and decided the best way he could help survivors at a shelter in Zachary, Louisiana, was to make the most of his mobile phone. He managed to reunite one devastated mother, named Lois, with her daughter who was in another shelter in Dallas, Texas. And though he was glad to offer a little help, he acknowledges there’s much more to be done: “My expectations were not that defined. I knew what I knew from the television… I didn’t understand the scope of it. I’m still trying to digest it… There’s so much work to do.”

Farrell and Hilton sell themselves for hurricane victims

Colin Farrell helped raise $20,000 at an auction to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina–by selling himself on Friday. Miami Vice co-star Jamie Foxx took bids for a date with Farrell and when nervous women weren’t forthcoming at the Delano Hotel charity bash in Miami Beach, Florida, decided to ask for group bids. One bunch of 10 friends bid $10,000 for a date with the Irishman, while another woman doubled the bid for her own one-night stand. And generous Farrell helped boost the fund too–he paid $50,000 for a portrait of Ray Charles. Meanwhile, fellow human auction item Paris Hilton was brought to tears when one fan bid $200,000 to spend New Year’s Eve with the socialite. She said, “It’s so generous. I’m crying right now.”

Lohan welcomes stranded girl into her home

Lindsay Lohan has opened her house to a complete stranger, after discovering a young girl couldn’t return to her home in New Orleans. Louisiana is one of four states which has suffered structural damage and loss of life at the hands of Hurricane Katrina. So when 19-year-old Lohan, who spent almost three months in New Orleans earlier this year, heard the girl’s plight she felt compelled to help. She says, “There was this girl the other night. I was at dinner and she was from New Orleans. She came here [to New York] for a trip for the day. Ironically, she couldn’t go back and she is here. So I kind of took her under my wing. I said ‘Do you want to come and stay with us for the rest of the night?’ It’s just the scariest thought. I can’t even imagine it.”

McCartney & Anderson help raise cash for stranded pets

Celebrity animal activists Stella McCartney and Pamela Anderson have teamed up to donate personal memorabilia to an upcoming auction to raise cash for the pets caught up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of dogs, cats and other pets perished in last month’s storm, which devastated Louisiana, Alabama and surrounding areas, and now animal charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is doing all it can to save stranded creatures. And McCartney and Anderson have pledged their support by offering up items that will be sold off at PETA’s 25th Anniversary Gala and Humanitarian Awards in Hollywood on Sept. 10. Anderson is offering a walk-on part in her hit TV show Stacked, while McCartney is donating cruelty-free items from her fashion collection. The upcoming PETA auction will raise cash for the charity’s Animal Emergency Fund.

Clooney donates to Katrina relief efforts

George Clooney has become the latest celebrity to open up his wallet to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and is urging others to do the same. Clooney has announced plans to donate $1 million to the United Way for its relief efforts. The actor, who is a member of the United Way Board of Trustees, says, “There isn’t much any of us can do right now but pour money into this tragedy. We’re all in this one together.”

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