Across the globe, people are grappling with the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Deaths due to the coronavirus have soared in Italy as hospitals try to manage high demands and lack of supplies. In the U.S., panic levels are high, with health officials advising "social distancing" and taking extra precautions to protect your health. Most major live events, TV productions, and movie releases have been canceled while citizens grapple with postponing their own important gatherings to protect vulnerable, immune-compromised individuals.
Thankfully, fear hasn't stopped people from giving back to their communities and inspiring us all in these scary times. From acts of kindness to major donations that will help those who are sick and/or out of work, here are just a few of the ways celebrities and regular people, alike, are doing good in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak:
Zion Williamson will cover the salaries of Smoothie King Center staff
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The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.
The NBA announced that all games have been canceled for the rest of the season, which means stadium workers and employees could lose serious wages. However, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson wants to do his part: He announced on Instagram that he'll help cover the salaries of those who work at the Smoothie King Center.
"My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days," he said.
Kevin Love donates $100,000 for the staff at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
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Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming. Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work. I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.
Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love was one of the first athletes who stepped in to help stadium staff that will struggle over canceled games. He promised $100,000 to benefit workers at Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
"Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family," he said on Instagram.
Donatella Versace and her daughter donate €200,000 to a hospital in Milan.
Donatella Versace and her daughter Allegra Versace Beck gave €200,000 to Milans' San Raffaele hospital to address supply shortages and limited supplies.
“In times like this, it is important to be united and support however we can to help all those who are in the front lines, fighting every day to save hundreds of lives," Versace said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this disease and to all the doctors and medical staff who have been working heroically non-stop in the past weeks in the effort to take care of our loved ones."
Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni donates €100,000 to benefit Italy
Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni and her husband made a personal donation of €100,000 to a GoFundMe campaign they started to help hospitals in Italy, which have been overwhelmed by the number of patients infected with COVID-19. The money they put forth was specifically to help provide new hospital beds in Milan’s San Raffaele hospital intensive care unit, where there have been shortages.
“We hope that this initiative will raise awareness among people in Italy and abroad of the current coronavirus crisis, which is affecting all of us,” the couple said in a statement.
Laura Benanti invites high schoolers to share their talent
Even if their schools have yet to shut down, many student performances, musicals, and plays have been canceled. Broadway singer and actress Laura Benanti reached out to disappointed theater kids on Twitter, inviting them to send her videos of their songs and dances with the hashtag #SunshineSongs as a way to bring a little cheer to stressful times.
"Trying to find some bright spots. If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper," she said in a video she uploaded on her social media accounts. Make sure to check out the replies.
Quarentined Italians perform for their neighbors
After the Italian government initiated a national lockdown, residents came together through music. Several viral videos have captured Italians singing to each other through the windows of their homes, and in a few places, some musicians launched into national songs from their balconies.
Delta's CEO forgoes his own salary to prevent layoffs
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In a memo to employees Friday, Delta Air Lines Inc. chief executive officer Ed Bastian said for now, he will forgo his salary for six months in an effort to avoid layoffs. Bastian's announcement comes three days after Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly revealed plans to reduce his salary by 10%. We hope other CEOs follow suit during this dire time for many employees and their families and are happy to promote their stories!
Whereas the Whole Foods' CEO reportedly recommended his staff "donate" their Paid Time Off to sick coworkers, Delta CEO Ed Bastian says he will forgo his salary for six months to avoid potential layoffs due to sweeping travel cuts.
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