“When we find a way to serve other people, we see how compassion and empathy can really make a lasting, positive impact by showing up for somebody else,” she said in a video message.
The event, which broadcast live on KTLA, raised more than $1.1 million for Project Angel Food, which provides meals to critically ill people in Los Angeles County.
Presented by City National Bank, Lead With Love was hosted by Eric McCormack and KTLA Morning News anchor Jessica Holmes along with Alex Mapa and Loni Love.
The evening also included a “Charlie’s Angels” reunion of Jaclyn Smith and Chery Ladd and appearances by Lori Loughlin, Cybill Shepherd, Pauley Perrette, Debbie Gibson and Charo. The celebrity phonebank included Melissa Peterman, Michelle Visage, Kim Coles, Jai Rodriguez, Beth Hall, Mary-Margaret Humes, Lawrence Zarian and Gregory Zarian.
The two-hour special was executive produced by Brad Bessey along with Michael Levitt, Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub, KTLA’s Marcus Smith and Jacob Burch and Mark McBride.
Richard Gere announced a $75,000 matching grant from the Herb Ritts Foundation. “Herb was one of my dearest, closest friends and when he passed away in 2002, from complications from HIV/AIDS, it was completely devastating for all of us,” the actor said. “And he wanted his foundation to continue the work he had been doing helping people.”
Project Angel Food feeds more than 2,500 Angelenos each day with more than 1.2 million meals delivered each year.
Ayoub said in a statement, “With inflation and rising food insecurity among L.A.’s critically ill population, it is so encouraging to see Los Angeles step up to help us rise to the challenge.”