We’ve all seen the terrible images and videos from the aftermath of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma that occurred on May 20 in which 24 people, including 10 children (many of whom were at school when the tornado hit), died. As happens with many tragedies in America, immediately the fundraising mechanisms of organizations like The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross began operating to raise money for the people affected by the disaster, encouraging people to donate by mail or online or even by text (80888 will give $10 to The Salvation Army and 90999 will give $10 to the American Red Cross).
But, as in times past, people in the entertainment industry have stepped up as well, using their celebrity and media connections to raise funds. And no one has been more visible on this than Blake Shelton, an Oklahoma native, country superstar and judge on NBC’s television show, The Voice.
On May 29, NBC will be airing Healing the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert, a relief effort put together by Blake Shelton to raise funds for the families of the people killed, and those injured and those families who lost their homes. The concert is scheduled to be held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and all funds raised will go to the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.
This is not the first time NBC has aired this type of telethon. After Superstorm Sandy, Matt Lauer, anchor for NBC’s Today Show, organized a telethon called Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together that included such performers as Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler and Christina Aguilera. The telethon was broadcast on all of the networks of NBC Universal (including CNBC, Bravo, USA and Syfy) in early November 2012 and raised $23 million for those affected by Sandy.
Joining Blake Shelton in the concert will be his wife, country singer Miranda Lambert, as well as other country superstars including Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood (who has personally donated $1 million to the relief efforts). As with the Sandy telethon, NBC Universal will be simulcasting the concert across all of its channels mentioned above.
The funds raised will be used, according to an NBC press release, for immediate, intermediate and long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts. The costs of the benefit concert will be paid by Love’s Travel Stops. Love’s Travel Stops is a family-owned business that runs 63 stores in Oklahoma. On May 22, they announced that they were making a $3 million donation for the relief efforts, including $1 million to the OK Strong Relief fund, $500,000 to Catholic Charities and the balance to fund the benefit concert.
As in most times of tragedy in our country, people rally around to help our fellow Americans. Watching this concert and supporting these organizations is a good way for all of us to help too.