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Ben Stiller and Social Media Stars Launch ‘Love Army’ to Aid in Somali Crisis

Article published on Times website on 03/22/2017 by Raisa Bruner

Celebrities have banded together for a viral fundraising campaign to help offset the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, raising more than $2 million in less a week from nearly 80,000 contributors—and counting.

Their plan: to fill a cargo plane with food destined for the emergency zone. Actor Ben Stiller and athlete Colin Kaepernick, plus social media heavyweights like Casey Neistat, Jerome Jarre, Chakabars Clarke, Juanpa Zurita, and Amanda Cerny combined their celebrity status to rally a “Love Army for Somalia” online, imploring their shared millions of followers and friends to contribute to relief efforts in a GoFundMe.

The campaign can be traced back to France’s Jerome Jarre, who took to social media on March 15 to ask Turkish Airlines to deliver life-saving supplies to Somalia. The region, as Jarre noted, has been hit by a deadly drought. It’s already taken the lives of 26 and is expected to escalate.

Since Jarre’s plea, many bold-faced names have gotten on board, including DJ Calvin Harris (he donated $25,000) and Zoolander’s Stiller. To drum up donations, participants are asked to use the #NominatedforSomalia hashtag and tag three friends to join their “Love Army,” rather like the ice bucket challenge of years past. (Stiller tagged Emma Watson, Cara Delevingne, Lewis Hamilton, and Alyssa Milano.)

“It is easy to shut off to the hardships and suffering that is not in our immediate experience, to become anesthetized to the constant news of those in need,” Stiller said in a statement. “But Jerome and his compatriots understand that beneath this, human beings have a real desire to help each other. And he is all about activating that desire and turning it into action.”

 


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