The United Nations World Food Programme announced on Friday (Dec. 1) that WFP Goodwill Ambassador The Weeknd (who now goes by his birth name, Abel Tesfaye) has directed $2.5 million from his XO Humanitarian Fund to aid the WFP’s humanitarian response in Gaza.
The organization said that the donation — equal to four million emergency meals — will fund the delivery of 820 metric tons (approx. 1.8 million pounds) of food parcels that could feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks.
“This conflict has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe beyond reckoning. WFP is working round the clock to provide aid in Gaza but a major scale up is needed to address the desperate level of hunger we are seeing,” said WFP’s Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Region, Corinne Fleischer in a statement about the rush to provide aid in Gaza. The crisis is a result of weeks of heavy bombardment from Israeli forces in response to Palestinian terror group Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the murder of more than 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of 240 women, children, men and elderly citizens.
“Our teams need safe and sustained humanitarian access, and continued support from donors to reach as many people as we can,” Fleischer continued. “We thank Abel for this valuable contribution towards the people of Palestine. We hope others will follow Abel’s example and support our efforts.”
The WFP said the donation from Tesfaye comes at a critical time in the group’s efforts to feed the more than one million Gazans facing starvation. During the just-expired week-long truce between Israel and Hamas the WFP said it reached more than 121,000 people in Gaza, providing fresh bread, fortified date bars, canned food, wheat flour, pasta, tomato sauce and oil.
Tesfaye was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in Oct. 2021 and has supported the WFP’s global hunger-relief missions with $1.8 million in personal donations to date through his XO fund; the singer has committed to dedicate the equivalent of $1 per concert ticket sold in 2024 from the global leg of his After Hours ’til Dawn stadium tour to the XO Humanitarian Fund.