On Tuesday, March 24, the virtual Te'LA'thon hosted by the Los Angeles Rams and KABC raised more than $2.2 million (as of March 25 at 3:30 PM PT) to assist Southern California response efforts during this unprecedented global health crisis. All contributions are benefiting the United Way of Greater Los Angeles' Pandemic Relief Fund in direct support of community partners and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. While phone lines are currently closed, donations can still be made by visiting the Pandemic Relief Fund site, texting "UnitedforLA" to 1-844-701-5181 and by mail through Sunday, March 29.
"Staying at home didn't stop over two thousand Angelenos and several corporate and community partners and philanthropists from stepping in and helping our most vulnerable neighbors," said Elise Buik, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "Yesterday demonstrates the power of coming together during such a difficult time, providing immediate support for our struggling families, students, homeless neighbors and others threatened by this pandemic. Thank you to the Los Angeles Rams, KABC, ESPN LA and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for their leadership in making a significant impact in the lives of so many during this crisis."
The funds raised with more than 2,300 donations will provide immediate relief to low-income working families and individuals at imminent risk of homelessness, hunger relief for Angelenos dealing with food insecurity from students to the elderly, medical and hygiene materials to shelters and healthcare providers, and support unsheltered residents across LA experiencing disproportionate hardship due to health and economic impacts of coronavirus.
"The Food Bank is overwhelmed by the incredible support of the community to help during this time of increased demand for food assistance," said Michael Flood, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. "We sincerely appreciate the support of our long-time partners in the fight against hunger, ABC-7, the Los Angeles Rams, 710 ESPN LA, and all those who contributed to the Te'LA'thon to help those in need."
Rams team captains Jared Goff & Andrew Whitworth each donated $250K to kick off the virtual telethon and to finance a total of 2 million meals for Angelenos in need. Throughout the day, Whitworth, punter Johnny Hekker, safety John Johnson III, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, and voice of the Rams J.B. Long made appearances on-air with KABC and 710 ESPN LA to promote the initiative and offer their support in the community. Additionally, Hekker, offensive lineman Austin Corbett, Legends David Hill and LeRoy Irvin, cheerleaders and front office staff answered the phone calls of supporters and processed donations. Hall of Fame Legends Jackie Slater and Eric Dickerson were also featured in videos encouraging Angelenos to contribute while Super Bowl Champion wide receiver Torry Holt joined the list of donors.
"Thanks to the support of our partners at KABC, yesterday's telethon was a powerful demonstration of what's possible when we come together and challenge ourselves to think creatively about ways we can best mobilize to help our community in times of crisis," said Molly Higgins, Vice President of Community Affairs, Los Angeles Rams. "From the generous $10 donations of individuals to the larger contributions from corporations, the collective spirit and compassion of Angelenos shined bright. We can all be proud that the money raised will allow United Way and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to further their important work in leading the critical response to our community's most pressing needs right now."
KABC's broadcasts throughout the Te'LA'thon included on-air interviews hosted by sports anchors Rob Fukuzaki and Curt Sandoval with: Michael Flood (LA Regional Food Bank), Tami Horetski (SoCal Honda Dealers), Elise Buik (United Way of Greater Los Angeles), Kevin Demoff (Los Angeles Rams), Ty Burrell (Actor), Gregg Sherkin (Wells Fargo), Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck (Riot Games), Jennifer Gross (Gross Family Foundation), Andrew Whitworth (Los Angeles Rams) and Sharon Tomkins (SoCal Gas).
"ABC7 is committed to serving our communities and we are grateful to have the partnership of terrific organizations who share the same objective," said Cheryl Fair, president and general manager of KABC. "The goal of the telethon was to contribute to helping the community come together and support one another during this unthinkable time. We're so heartened to see the community rally around the effort and hope that with the funds raised, we'll be able to make a meaningful impact in helping the most vulnerable residents."
Celebrities and influencers who joined the efforts to promote Tuesday's Te'LA'thon included: Jimmy Kimmel, Ty Burrell, Emilio Rivera, Christina Anthony, Jin Ha, Jake Borelli, Indya Moore, Anne Winters, Will Yun Lee, Steve Burton, Kimrie Lewis, Kristen Hensley, Jen Smedley, Rebecca Metz, Alimi Ballard, Sasha Farber, Taran Killam, Alex Lange, Brenda Song, Valentino Khan, Beau Clark, Kenny Hamilton and Jay Mendoza.
Corporate donors and individuals made pledges to the Te'LA'thon via call, text, webpage and mail. Top supporters of the relief efforts include: The California Endowment, Gross Family Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, City National Bank, Cedars-Sinai, Riot Games, Wells Fargo, US Bank and the Blinkoff Corngold Charitable Fund. UWGLA, the LA Regional Food Bank, the Rams and KABC also extend their gratitude to United Way's Tocqueville Society, who will donate up to $115,000 through a giving challenge, with the support of anonymous donors, as well as Renee Fraser and The Telleen Family Foundation.