Red Nose Day is a tradition started in the UK, in 1988, that occurs every two years and brings some of the biggest celebrities together to fundraise to help change the lives of people living in poverty and poor circumstances across the UK and Africa. On the BBC, there is a night of television with comedy, entertainment, and stories of hope that inspire and encourage viewers and celebrities alike to donate to improve the world we live in, thus paving the way for a brighter future for all of us.
The USA joined forces with Red Nose Day in 2015 and it brought some of the biggest names in entertainment together to change the lives of children in, not only the US, but countries all around the world. While it’s easy to believe that extreme poverty only affects people far away from our homes – the truth is, it’s happening in our own backyard. There are many reasons that families are living at or below the poverty level all over the USA; from job loss to children with medical needs that outweigh family income and even working 40+ hours a week and simply not making enough to make ends meet – you never know what your neighbor could be struggling with. Red Nose Day gives all of us the ability to donate a small amount (or a large amount) of money to make a difference, every dollar matters, every donation saves a life.
In 2015, Red Nose Day raised $23 Million and impacted so many lives in a number of ways. From 7.8 Million meals (and counting) in the US to 30K families with clean drinking water in Africa, donations made brought not only hope but life to millions.
This year, Red Nose Day aimed to do even more.
Jack Black shared the story of Felix, a child in Uganda that donations from 2015 helped immensely. He went from being a child who lived on the street, no family, little hope for a future – to living in a home with a roof over his head, a school to attend, and a family to love.
Julia Roberts went to a town in Arizona where she met children living under the poverty level. One family with a small child who is suffering end stage kidney failure, another family with children who couldn’t afford medical care, the situations were heartbreaking. In a fortunate turn of events, donations came through that helped enhance the lives of these families and others like them, by providing them with a place to live, a school for children to attend – but the best part, were the medical centers at both, where they could receive care without having to worry about payment.
There were also acts of comedy and music that still brought focus to the central idea behind Red Nose Day while providing entertainment for those tuning into the telethon. From story time with Tracy Morgan, to performances by Blake Shelton and Elton John, and stand up from Jane Lynch, there were plenty of laughs and smiles to go around. There were also tears, and somber moments when stories were told about more children who needed your help. Like Monica from Bangladesh that just wanted to go to school, but at age 4, worked in a dump site to find items that she could help her mother sell.
After only an hour over 10 million dollars were raised as the telethon continued.
Ludacris went to Atlanta and visited a school where he was surprised to find out that over 50% of the children live below the poverty level. The days that the children attended school, they were able to eat, on the weekends, the children weren’t receiving the proper food and nutrients. Ludacris went to visit a family that lived below the level of poverty, and the mother was in tears explaining how hard it was to ask her children to go to sleep without food at night. On Fridays, the children are loaded with backpacks full of 30 lbs of food
Now, however, due to donations from people like you, on Fridays, the children are loaded with backpacks full of 30 lbs of food and sent home to make it through the weekend. The hope in the eyes of children who went to the food pantry that was on location at their school was indescribable.
Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln shared milkshakes and talked about doing something totally different, bringing sweetness and light into the world – so they made a “Walking Dead – Red Nose Day Special” trailer! As exciting as that seemed, the duo decided not to go through with it after all – they enjoy the gore and the blood just a bit too much.
Viewers then got a look at a hospital in Uganda where Malaria is rampant, and unfortunately, children die each day from the preventable disease. A baby, Patricia, passed away from the illness on screen, and the weight of that loss was felt by every person watching. All it takes is a 4 dollar mosquito net to prevent the illness, the plea for donations was only stronger after that.
Upon the telethon’s end, a total of $30,703,465 was raised, and the text and online donations are still open – that means there’s still room for even more lives to be changed.
If you want to take part in making a change please visit Red Nose Day or text Give to 80077.