The Christian actor announced on social media that he is putting a virtual benefit to help fellow Texans directly affected by the severe winter weather conditions that have recently devastated the state, FaithWire reports. “As most of you know, my home state of Texas was just hit with the worst winter storm it’s had in the last […]
By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture PassionistasThis week we scoured the globe to find the most uplifting examples of celebrity altruists. We joined a Hollywood heavy hitter during his effort to aid Haiti, a British chef in his quest to transform Middle America, an L.A. talk show host in a Southern cultural battle, a Tinseltown movie star at a factory press conference in Ohio, and a big Apple singer-songwriter on Capitol Hill. See how these five celebrities worked to change the world in this week’s Most Inspirational Pop Culture Moments. Sean Penn Doing Relief Work in HaitiActor Sean Penn didn’t just donate money to the people of Haiti and get on with his life. Instead Penn has relocated to the island, has spent most of the past few months there, and oftentimes lives in the tents among the victims of the January earthquake. Penn has been in the Caribbean nation doing everything he can to aid the people displaced by the disaster. Penn and a U.S. businesswoman started an organization called Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization (JP HERO). They have taken over management of a camp that has treated over 55,000 patients and serves 2,000 meals a day to people living in the tent city. He says the biggest concern right now is moving over 45,000 people living in the “Sean Penn Camp” as it is now known, before the hurricane season starts and their makeshift homes are washed away in floods.Penn is working so exhaustively that when Katia Riddle of NPR asked him what he’ll take away from the experience, he acknowledged that he has not had time for that to even sink in saying, “That’s something to be digested later.”Jamie Oliver Kicks Off a “Food Revolution”British chef Jamie Oliver was recently credited for transforming the school system’s food program in England. Now he’s set his sights on the U.S. On Sunday night his new show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” had a sneak preview. Over the course of three months the Naked Chef tried to achieve a lofty ambition– to teach the people of Huntington, West Virginia to cook better and eat healthier. When he landed in Huntington he was met with resistance, first by a local radio DJ, and then by the lunch ladies at the local school he planned to inhabit for a week. The culinary master who’s based his food philosophy on simple, healthy food was shocked to find a school breakfast that included pizza and pink milk. It appeared this was going to be more daunting a task than he anticipated. Oliver was even reduced to tears at one point but he wouldn’t be stopped. His mission is valiant. His methods straightforward, and we hope, ultimately, transformational. We’ll be certain to watch all six episodes and learn from the master. Step one–cancel that Domino’s order for tomorrow morning. Check. “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” premieres in its regular time slot tonight on ABC at 8:00 pm. Ellen DeGeneres Gives $30,000 Scholarship to Teen Banned from PromOn Thursday, The U.S. District Court ruled that a Mississippi school violated the Constitutional rights of student, Constance McMillen, when they banned her from attending the prom wearing a tux and holding hands with her girlfriend. Sadly, they were not required to reinstate the event, but the court is going to hold a trial on the issue. In the meantime, parents are throwing the kids a substitute dance where all are welcome and many supporters have rallied around the teen. One big fan is Ellen DeGeneres, who invited the girl on her show. She told Constance she was an inspiration for standing up for her rights. Ellen said it was up to Constance and her generation to enlighten the world about the fallout of discrimination. DeGeneres gave the student (who has a 3.86 GPA) a $30,000 scholarship check from tonic.com.Danny Glover Fights for Factory WorkersDanny Glover went to Ohio on Tuesday to give hugs and moral support to the 375 workers who will soon be out of jobs at the Hugo Boss factory. Glover has been fighting the fashion house since he heard the news that they were closing the facility on April 27. He even encouraged fellow actors to boycott the company and wear other designers’ suits to the Oscars last month.The “Lethal Weapon” star attended a press conference to bring attention to the issue and urged the decision makers to reconsider. He said, “The Hugo Boss management needs to come to see these workers and see their commitment to the perfection of their products.”He added, “What happened here is symbolic of what’s going on all around the country,” and said he will fight until the end to save these jobs.Mandy Moore Promotes World Water DayMandy Moore has been working hard to shed her vapid teen pop star image these last few years. She suddenly married alt-country darling Ryan Adams, she put out an indie record of her own, and now she’s working for a very worthy cause. Moore observed World Water Day on March 23 by going to Washington D.C. to speak before Congress about her recent trip to Southern Sudan. According to her blog on the Huffington Post, she was “joining what will hopefully be the world’s longest toilet queue to bring awareness to the need for improved hygiene and sanitation in developing countries around the world.” She also hoped to raise awareness about the Paul Simon Water for the World Act which, according to govtrack.us, strives “to provide 100,000,000 people with first-time access to safe drinking water and sanitation on a sustainable basis by 2015.” If you missed World Water Day, it’s not too late to help. Pick up a copy of this month’s National Geographic magazine, which is dedicated to water issues. And visit www.waterday.org to see what you can do to help with the cause.For more, visit the Pop Culture Passionistas.