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The $23 million raised by the inaugural Red Nose Day USA telethon in May is being disbursed to help children and youth living in poverty.

The event, which aired on NBC, raised money through the sale of plastic red noses, appeals during the live three-hour special and community fundraisers. Writer-director Richard Curtis brought the Red Nose Day concept the U.S. this year after making it an institution in the U.K. during the past two decades. The idea is to use celebrities and comedians to encourage the public to donate money to anti-poverty causes.

Six months after the NBC special, the money raised is being used to serve nearly 8 million meals to children across the country, provide reading materials to more than 200,000 children, supply vaccines and get clean water to children and families in Africa.

The charities benefiting from Red Nose Day USA funds included Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Health fund, charity:water, Feeding America, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, LIFT, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, Oxfam America, Save the Children, The Global Fund and United Way.

“It’s brilliant that all these efforts are already changing and saving the lives of children across every state in the U.S. and internationally through our fantastic charity partners,” Curtis said. “And I love the fact that this was all done by people having fun and being funny. The involvement of so many extraordinary performers first time out was a real thrill to us all.”