Canadian singer The Weeknd donates $2.5 million to WFP's Gaza response

Canadian singer The Weeknd donates $2.5 million to WFP's Gaza response
The World Food Programme said the donation, directed from The Weeknd's XO Humanitarian Fund, will fund enough food parcels to feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks.
2 min read
03 December, 2023
Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye is known professionally as The Weeknd [Samir Hussein/Getty Images for ABA-archive]

Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd is donating $2.5 million to the World Food Programme's humanitarian response in Gaza.

The "Blinding Lights" singer, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, is directing the money from his XO Humanitarian Fund, WFP said in a press release on Friday.

"This donation, which equates to four million emergency meals, will fund 820 metric tonnes of food parcels that could feed more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks," WFP said.

The UN agency's Middle East regional director Corinne Fleischer thanked The Weeknd for his "valuable contribution towards the people of Palestine", saying WFP hoped others would follow his example and support its efforts.

It comes amid the devastating Gaza war, which has seen Israel launch a relentless bombing campaign and invade the strip on the ground.

Live Story

The Israeli military campaign has so far killed over 15,200 people in Gaza. Forces have attacked hospitals, ambulances, and residential buildings.

Israel also tightened its siege on Gaza after launching the campaign, preventing anything more than a trickle of aid from entering the territory.

"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," Fleischer said.

"Our teams need safe and sustained humanitarian access, and continued support from donors to reach as many people as we can."

WFP said The Weeknd's donation comes amid a "critical moment" in its response efforts, as it "races to feed more than one million Gazans on the verge of starvation".

The Weeknd is a goodwill ambassador for the UN agency. He has given $1.8 million in personal contributions and established his XO Humanitarian Fund in partnership with WFP USA.

The press release on Friday said the fund had so far raised $5 million, with a first tranche of $2.5 million sent to help with emergency food assistance to women and children in Ethiopia. The Toronto-born singer is of Ethiopian descent.

The second tranche will be assigned to the Gaza response.

The Weeknd has committed to giving the equivalent of $1 per concert ticket sold from the global leg of his After Hours 'til Dawn stadium tour to the XO Humanitarian Fund.