SEATTLE, Washington — On May 9, 2020, the nonprofit Care International partnered with Pokerstars to hold a celebrity invitational online poker tournament. 2020 is the sixth year that the Care International Celebrity Poker Game will fund humanitarian aid. Ninety celebrities attended the event and donated more than $1 million to various charity organizations. Half of the proceeds from the event went to Care International, and the other half went to charities chosen by the winners of the tournament. For each celebrity in attendance, $10,000 contributed to COVID-19 emergency relief funds.
Celebrities donated to a variety of organizations and causes, including neonatal health care, poverty, climate change and social justice. Actor David Costabile won the largest prize of $100,000, which he donated to the World Central Kitchen (WCK). Although many charities benefitted from the event, Care International and WCK gained the most funding.
Care International: Champions of the Poor
Care International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives, eradicating poverty and championing social justice worldwide. The organization began as the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) in 1946. Since then, Care International shifted focus from solely helping Europe to providing aid and relief to everyone around the globe. The organization works to accomplish its goals by targeting five specific areas: food security and climate change resilience, emergency relief and aid, freedom from violence, women’s economic empowerment and reproductive rights.
In 2018, Care International worked in 95 countries to strengthen gender equality, promote inclusive governance and address the root causes of global poverty. The organization launched 965 projects that helped 56 million people. It managed to impact 340 million people through advocacy work, education and other organizations. These projects include work such as empowering villagers to negotiate with employers and landowners for higher wages, helping to implement sustainable farming practices to prevent droughts and providing 2.6 million women access to fundamental rights such as employment and education.
World Central Kitchen Chefs Fight World Hunger
World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a nonprofit founded in 2010. WCK’s mission is to ensure people around the world “always have a warm meal, an encouraging word and a helping hand during hard times.” Seeking to eradicate world hunger, WCK provides emergency relief to those suffering from disasters. It also provides adequate cooking technology and training for individuals in low-income and rural areas to prepare healthy and sustainable meals. WCK works through a variety of different initiatives, such as Clean Cooking and Plow to Plate.
More than four million people die every year from health issues caused by unsafe cooking materials. Clean Cooking is an initiative that works to install sinks with clean water and transition chefs from cooking on wood-burning stoves to cooking with liquid propane gas instead. WCK has “built or renovated 150 school and other community kitchens” through the initiative.
Plow to Plate is a program that funds small businesses, farmers and fisheries to promote economic independence, stability and clean eating in Central America and the Caribbean. Through the program, farmers and businesspeople not only receive funding but also gain access to training and a cross-cultural network of chefs. The program gifted 80 grantees with more than $1.3 million.
There are more than 820 million hungry people in the world today. Six hundred million people in the world are living on less than $2 a day. These numbers may seem daunting, but with the funds raised from the Care International Celebrity Poker Game, organizations like World Central Kitchen can continue to fight to bring those numbers down.
– Tiara Wilson