The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye, is donating $2.5 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for its humanitarian efforts in Gaza. The funding equates to four million emergency meals, and could feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks, according to a press release.
The “Blinding Lights” singer, who has been a WFP goodwill ambassador since 2021, is directing the money from his XO Humanitarian Fund. The fund was established in 2022 to provide food and global support to people experiencing hunger and starvation.
“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. “Our teams need safe and sustained humanitarian access, and continued support from donors to reach as many people as we can.”
“We thank Abel for this valuable contribution towards the people of Palestine,” she continued. “We hope others will follow Abel’s example and support our efforts.”
The Weeknd has a track record of supporting humanitarian relief: in 2021, he donated $1 million in food aid to Ethiopia, and in 2020 he donated $500,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in Scarborough, $500,000 to Black Lives Matter causes and $300,000 to support victims of the Beirut port explosion. Last year, the Grammy-winning musician received the Canadian Music Week Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award in recognition of his charitable efforts.
The WFP confirmed that the star will continue to support the XO Humanitarian Fund in 2024, by contributing $1 US per concert ticket sold from his After Hours ’til Dawn tour.