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Drew Brees and his wife donating $5 million to coronavirus relief in Louisiana

Mardi Gras may have fueled Louisiana outbreak

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced Thursday that he and his wife, Brittany, will make a major contribution to relief efforts in the state of Louisiana

"Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020," Brees wrote on Instagram. "The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time."

The one-time Super Bowl champ said after considerable research and conversations he chose several local organizations to partner with, including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr. Together, they will give out 10,000 meals each day to children, seniors and families in need.

Brees said they will continue to do so for as long as it takes. "Let's all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together," he wrote. 

As of Thursday, there have been a total of 2,305 coronavirus cases and 83 deaths in Louisiana, according to CBS affiliate WWL-TV. Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans are believed to have fueled the outbreak in that area.

With many people out of work and most schools closed during the pandemic, food and income insecurity is affecting millions of Americans. 

When schools shuttered their doors in order to practice social distancing, educators were faced with a number of challenges, including implementing an at-home learning system. Another concern was continuing to providing meals to students who rely on free breakfast and lunch from school.

Several parishes in the New Orleans area are offering grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for students on the weekdays, according to WWL-TV. However, some families may still be struggling to make ends meet and pay for food.

With many businesses closed for now, an estimated 4 million U.S. restaurant workers face the risk of layoffs within a matter of weeks, and that's not the only industry that's suffering. The U.S. could see 14 million lost jobs by this summer, warns the Economic Policy Institute, while noting that the fluid nature of the public health crisis means such projections are in flux.

Brees' $5 million effort is one of the largest celebrity contributions to easing the pain of the coronavirus pandemic. Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation announced it was distributing $5 million to various charities and organizations.

Many celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gwyneth Paltrow have donated money to the Frontline Responders Fund.

Ciara and Russell Wilson said they were donating 1 million meals to Seattle's Food Lifeline. Eva Mendes chose to donate to the LA Foodbank.

Some celebrity-run companies like Lady Gaga's Haus Laboratories and Ryan Reynold's Aviation Gin are donating a percentage of its profits during this time.

Other stars are giving back in their own unique way. Britney Spears and her sister, Jamie Lynn, are participating in the "Do Your Part" challenge on social media, picking three fans to help out during this time. Fashion designer Christian Siriano announced his seamstresses would make face masks for health care workers and Bethenny Frankel said her bstrong foundation would donate 1 million masks.

Kevin Bacon on his #IStayHomeFor social distancing campaign
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