Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles' Project Angel Food raises over $1 million at celebrity driven telethon

Heather Newgen

They did it! Project Angel Food's "Lead with Love 2021" Telethon raised over $1 million dollars, which was well over the inital goal of $800,000.

Before the event News Break talked with executive director Richard Ayoub who told us, "Last year we raised $720,000. People came through in the biggest way possible. This year we said, "okay, let's be conservative. Let's try to raise $800,000." Secretly I'll tell you I'd like the 1 million dollar number. I'm hoping we have such a great outpouring of support that we get close to it."

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Actor Alec Mapa and executive director Richard Ayoub for Project Angel Food at Lead with Love 2021 TelethonEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Project Angel Food raised $1,126,090 far surpassing their fundraising expectations.

So where does the money go?

Ayoub explained, "Project Angel Food added 800 new people to our program within the last year. We went from serving 1500 people a day to 2300 today and every day. Our motto is for life, for love, for as long as it takes. So these clients, we are keeping them as long as it takes. Some need us for just a few weeks. Some need us for a month, some for a year or even longer. We're not saying goodbye to them, but we continue to feed them. This is an opportunity for us to say we're still feeling the effects of Covid. We still need your help. $5, $50, $500 it all helps." 

The "Lead with Love 2021" telethon was presented by City National Bank, aired live on KTLA5 and was hosted by "Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack along with KTLA morning news anchor Jessica Holmes for the second year in a row. Loni Love and Alec Mapa served as co-hosts.

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Jessica Holmes and Eric McCormack hosting the 2021 Lead with Love TelethonEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

The program opened with a surprise greeting from The Beatles superstar Ringo Starr and other celebrities who made a live or pretaped appeareance include Jamie Lee Curtis, Marianne Williamson, Jimmy Smits, Javicia Leslie, Brad Garrett, Matt Bomer, Maria Shriver, Tyler Henry, Wanda Sykes, Sandra Lee, Rachel Lindsay, Sharon Lawrence, Jennifer Tilly, Olympic Gold Medalists Shannon Miller and Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Ross Mathews, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Katey Sagal, Annie Potts, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch, Yvette Nicole Brown, Peter Porte, Chef Cat Cora, Chef Stuart O'Keeffe, Duff Goldman, Conrad Ricamora and longtime Angel Food supporter and Board of Trustees member Pauley Perrette.

Besides raking in over 1 million dollars, hightlights of the event were Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry, who has a waiting list of over 200,000 people for a reading, donated a reading to Lauren Hatz for a $15,000 donation.

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Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry at Lead with Love 2021 TelethonEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

A special tribute was paid to Chef Randy Nakamura, who died from COVID this past year, by celebrity chefs Cat Cora and Stuart O'Keeffe, and actor Brad Garrett, who met Chef Randy at Project Angel Food.  Eric McCormack then led a toast, lifting a glass with all the stars in studio to Chef Randy, followed by a special performance by LeAnn Rimes, singing "Throw My Arms Around the World," beautifully capturing the spirit of the evening.

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Toasting Chef Randy NakamuraEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

And Loni Love, author, and host of The Real, presented her $25,000 winnings from her recent appearance on ABC's Celebrity Family Feud.

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Loni Love at Lead with Love TelethonEmma McIntyre/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Project Angel Food has been serving the Los Angeles community for 32 years by delivering and preparing medically tailored meals to people battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer, HIV, lung disease, heart disease, and other serious health conditions.

The Hollywood based organization relies on volunteers to help cook and package the meals, as well as deliver the food to clients. If you'd like to volunteer or donate, visit https://www.angelfood.org/

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Heather Newgen has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 2004 and covers a variety of topics including travel, lifestyle, all things Hollywood related, fun things to do in and around LA and human interest stories. In addition, she travels the world volunteering and launched The Voluntourist in 2017 to inspire others to give back responsibly. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog Murphy, but you'll often find them in Joshua Tree on weekends. Follow her @iamthevoluntourist

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