Last night’s (Sept. 12) Hand In Hand telethon raised more than $44 million for hurricane relief efforts. The one-hour event took place across all major networks as well as CMT. It aired from Nashville, Los Angeles and New York City, where celebrities came out by the dozens to take calls and urge support.
Throughout the night, host Stephen Colbert also informed viewers of some amazing donation from companies. Apple donated $5 million, while Albertson’s and Merck each donated $1 million. But the biggest differences came from everyday folks calling in. Over 2,100 people have donated more than $76,000 via donations through Facebook Live. Those proceeds will go toward Comic Relief USA’s hurricane relief efforts through the U.S. and Caribbean.
Musicians, actors and personalities all lined up to take calls. Everybody from Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber joined the cause. But arguably the best moments came in the personal stories and musical performances.
Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry hosted some of music’s biggest stars. Blake Shelton joined Usher, an old friend from The Voice, in a performance of the classic “Stand By Me.” Later in the evening, Brad Paisley, Darius Rocker, Demi Lovato and CeCe Winans collaborated on “With A Little Help From My Friends” (the Joe Cocker version).
You can watch their performance (and the whole event) here.
The telethon saved the best for last, when the broadcast went live to San Antonio’s historic Majestic Theater. There, Matthew McConaughey gave a stirring speech before introducing George Strait.
King George brought out Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen for a massive performance of “If It Wasn’t For Texas.” They then followed it up with “I Believe,” which Strait wrote in honor of the Sandy Hook victims with Dean Dillon and his son Bubba.
After their performance ended the evening, Strait and friends returned to Facebook Live for a nearly two-hour performance to raise more money.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill hosted Nashville’s portion, and they did so wonderfully. They also took a moment to remind the nation that not that long ago, that very stage went under water after flooding. They used the setting as a powerful moment to inspire folks to give to victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Hand In Hand originally started as a benefit for Harvey victims. But after Irma ravaged Florida, the event expanded. Sadly, much of Florida didn’t have power at the time of the benefit.
Officials estimate the total damage ranging anywhere from $150 to $290 billion. The unprecedented storms ravaged major cities in America, displacing millions of people.