Feel Good Friday: How Stars Are Helping Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic

1:45 PM 5/29/2020

by Katherine Schaffstall

Padma Lakshmi, J.K. Rowling, Seth Meyers and more are doing their part to help amid the global health crisis.

Noam Galai/Getty Images; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic; Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to stay home, Hollywood stars and public figures have donated their money and time to help those struggling the most.

Padma Lakshmi and the David Lynch Foundation launched a virtual fundraising campaign that allows one winner and a guest to participate in a Zoom cooking lesion with the Top Chef host.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling announced that she's releasing a new story called The Ickabog. In addition to entertaining kids stuck at home with the story, she pledged to donate all of the author royalties to those impacted by the pandemic.

Seth Meyers is auctioning off the opportunity to spend the day drinking together. The auction item was inspired by a fan favorite segment he does on NBC's Late Night, which Rihanna, the Jonas Brothers, Ina Garten and Kelly Clarkson have all participated in.

Meanwhile, Alicia Keys, Russell Westbrook, Kendall Jenner and Noah Centineo are encouraging reading across the country in the new Snapchat series The A-List Book Club. Los Angeles Unified School District and Snap Inc. partnered to launch the series, which features the stars discussing their favorite books and explaining how the stories impacted them.

Josh Gad hosted a virtual reunion for the 1984 movie Splash, which benefitted the charity DigDeep. Director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and stars Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and Eugene Levy joined Gad for the episode.

Rita Wilson, Constance Wu and a number of other stars also joined forces to thank nurses for their work during the pandemic as part of the #thanknurses campaign. In the video, the stars encourage viewers to donate to the Coronavirus Relief Fund for Nurses.

Last week, Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Rainn Wilson, Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laura Benanti, Krysta Rodriguez, Tituss Burgess, Sylvester Stallone and the cast of ABC's Once Upon a Time were among the stars to donate and entertain those stuck at home.

Read on to see how celebs gave back over the past week.

  • Padma Lakshmi Auctions Off Private Zoom Cooking Lesson

    Jason Mendez/Getty Images

    Padma Lakshmi partnered with the David Lynch Foundation to launch a virtual fundraising campaign that will allow one winner and a guest to participate in a Zoom cooking lesion with the Top Chef host. Bidding is currently open on Charitybuzz and will close on June 10.

    Throughout the Zoom session, Lakshmi will instruct the winner in a step-by-step showing as they prepare the perfect meal. The winner of the virtual cooking lesson will have up to a year to schedule a Zoom call with the celebrity chef.

    The auction is in support of the foundation's “Heal the Healers Now” initiative, which provides free training in the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique to medical professionals. People practice the mental technique for deep relaxation and to reduce stress.

  • J.K. Rowling to Donate Author Royalties from New Children's Book 'The Ickabog'

    Samir Hussein/WireImage

    J.K. Rowling announced a new story called The Ickabog. The author has pledged to donate all author royalties to those impacted by the coronavirus crisis. 

    In a blog post, Rowling explained that she will release new chapters on a weekly basis to help distract children that are stuck at home. She came up with the idea for the new story while writing Harry Potter and intended to publish it after releasing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Rowling eventually took a break from publishing and put The Ickabog "up into the attic, where it's remained for nearly a decade." 

    "The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power. To forestall one obvious question: the idea came to me well over a decade ago, so it isn't intended to be read as a response to anything that's happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country," she wrote about the new story.

  • Seth Meyers Auctions Off Day Drinking Opportunity

    Lloyd Bishop/NBC

    Seth Meyers has spent the day drinking with Rihanna, the Jonas Brothers, Ina Garten and Kelly Clarkson. The NBC host is now making it possible for a lucky fan to be next.

    Fans can bid to go day drinking with the Late Night host on one.bidpal.net. The auction is in support of Sanctuary for Families, which is a New York-based service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, sex trafficking and other forms of gender violence.

    People will be able to bid on the opportunity until June 3. The day drinking session will take place in New York City on a mutually agreed upon date when it is safe to gather in person.

    Meyers is also auctioning off a Zoom party, which can have up to eight people.

  • Josh Gad Hosts 'Splash' Reunion

    Ron Batzdorff/Buena Vista Pictures/Photofest

    Josh Gad hosted a Splash reunion for a good cause.

    Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, producer Brian Grazer and Howard participated in the virtual reunion. Ryan Reynolds also made a surprise appearance to honor the late John Candy, who played Hanks' brother in the film.

    The live stream reunion benefitted the non-profit DigDeep, which works to ensure every American has water and sanitation access.

    Watch the full reunion below.

  • Alicia Keys, Russell Westbrook, Kendall Jenner and Noah Centineo Encourage Reading in Snapchat Series

    Rich Fury/Getty Images; Jacopo Raule/Getty Images; Dave Benett/Getty Images; Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

    Los Angeles Unified School District and Snap Inc. partnered to launch The A-List Book Club on Snapchat. The new original series features stars Alicia Keys, Russell Westbrook, Kendall Jenner and Noah Centineo as they share one of their favorite books and explain how it impacted them. The initiative hopes to encourage reading across the country.

    Following each self-taped episode, a swipe up link will be available for Los Angeles Unified students to enter their student credentials and receive a free digital copy of the book. LA Students Most In Need will fund the book donations. The charity was created to support students and families during the pandemic. 

    Keys kicked off the series by discussing Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson on May 27, followed by Westbrook sharing Becoming by Michelle Obama on May 29. Jenner will discuss the book Only Love Is Real by Brian Weiss, M.D on May 31, while Centineo will talk about The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on June 2.

  • Rita Wilson, Constance Wu and More Unite in #ThankNurses Video

    Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

    Rita Wilson, Constance Wu and a number of other stars joined forces to thank nurses for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

    As part of the #thanknurses campaign, Wilson, Wu, Noah Wyle, Kit Williamson, John Halbach, Kate Flannery, Chris Chalk, Angelica Maria, Simon Helberg, Parminder Nagra, Angelica Vale, Joan Lunden and more appeared in a video to offer their support for the American Nurses Foundation. The video, which features self-shot footage, thanks health care workers and encourages viewers to donate money to help nurses treating COVID-19 patients.

    The American Nurses Foundation, which is the philanthropic division of the American Nurses Association, established the Coronavirus Relief Fund for Nurses. The stars encourage viewers to donate to the fund, which offers financial assistance, mental health services and other resources to help nurses and their families.