Elton John hosts Sunday’s hour-long special to benefit Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.
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The First Responder’s Children’s Foundation was one of two charities to benefit from FOX and iHeart Media’s “Living Room Concert for America,” and the cash is already being directed to those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is the biggest, most serious crisis in the country, and for the first responder community,” foundation president Jillian Crane told Fox News. “We can really step up and make a difference and we’re determined to do that.”
The charity was formed in 2001 as a response to the attacks of September 11, when 800 children lost first responder parents and 403 first responders died. First Responders Children’s Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty as well as families enduring significant financial hardships due to tragic circumstances.
The First Responder’s Children’s Foundation was one of two charities to benefit from FOX and iHeart Media’s “Living Room Concert for America” (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
“When the foundation was set up, it was to help the children of first responders,” Crane said. “When this horrible, deadly virus happened we quickly decided that the most important thing now is to be of service to the first responders’ community and their needs, right this minute, so we created the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.”
First responders, such as firefighters, police officers, EMS and paramedics, are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in every community across America and the foundation will provide support to their families if financial hardship strikes due to the outbreak.
“They rush in, they help protect people and often they make that ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “It’s devastating on their families so we have been very active over the past 19 years helping support the first responder families.”
“It was amazing that they chose us, we are grateful. It validates our experience, we’ve done it for so long, they trusted us to do it again so they selected our foundation and we were part of this incredible event,” Crane said.
First Responder’s Children’s Foundation president Jillian Crane appeared on “America’s Newsroom” before the “Living Room Concert for America.”
FOX’s concert aired commercial-free, using breaks between songs to encourage viewers to donate. It attracted some 8.7 million viewers across multiple FOX networks and brought significant awareness to the charities involved in the process.
Crane said grant applications have been pouring in since the “Living Room Concert” aired on Sunday night. She has already received some of the funds and the committee is currently accepting and reviewing grants applications from first responder families.
“I would say, in the next 72 hours we will start sending out the money. The needs are vast and endless, they’re coming from all over the country… a lot of first responders are volunteer,” she said. “If they get sick, or have to be quarantined and lose their job, they’re going to have great financial hardship, so we’re going to be there.”
Another major issue for first responders is simply the lack of critical supplies, but the First Responder’s Children’s Foundation has been reaching out to companies to see if they can help solve the problem.
“There are not enough supplies,” Crane said. “First responders are kind of having to confront this virus and help people without all of the equipment that they need.”
It’s not too late to donate, and FOX will re-air the “Living Room Concert for America” on Monday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET.
“FOX Presents the IHeart Living Room Concert for America” will air on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on all FOX platforms and iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide.
The unprecedented concert offered a unique glimpse into the lives of celebrities who performed from their homes while observing social distancing guidelines. Artists including Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, Camilla Cabello, Shawn Mendes, H.E.R., Billie Joe Armstong Demi Lovato, Tim McGraw and Mariah Carey used only an iPhone and whatever equipment they had on hand to broadcast their performances.
The First Responder’s Children’s Foundation also sells concert merchandise with all proceeds going to the charities and donations of all sizes are accepted online. Crane stressed that every dollar counts and anyone can get involved by simply texting the word “THANKS” to the number 76278.
“We are all coming together in a common cause right now. Yes, people have a political interest and people are upset in all kinds of ways that are partisan, but this is the one way that we can all come together as citizens of a universe that we live in and we want to stay alive in,” Crane said. “We can help each other. To me, that is the most important lesson of this whole thing.”
Crane also encouraged Americans to make a video thanking first responders and posting it on social media with #FirstRespondersStrong.
“We’d love to get a whole library of people thanking first responders that we can post on our site,” she said.