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While more than 70 television shows have shut down production this month because of dangers surrounding the coronavirus, Rachael Ray is spending her quarantine at home in the Adirondack Mountains continuing to film her cooking show for viewers.
“We are actually feeling much better because we’re working so much from home,” Ray told BuzzFeed News’ Twitter show AM to DM about her and her husband’s quarantine. “We are a team of three, my 15-year-old pit bull is our in-studio audience, and every Saturday night for Instagram TV we do a new meal.”
Ray said that her husband, John Cusimano, “has become a cameraman” now that he’s home with her, helping bring her show to life.
“We do our daytime show from our house now, which airs every Monday and Friday, so we’re actually staying wildly busy,” she said.
In addition to giving viewers entertaining content during otherwise anxious times, the couple has pledged to donate $4 million to combat the coronavirus crisis.
“John and I don’t have human children. We want to pay it forward to the next generation — and, of course, because of how I make my living, our avenue to do that is to offer our service through food and care for our neighbors in the best way possible,” Ray said.
The couple is using her nonprofit organization Yum-o to partner with a number of other organizations, including Feeding America, City Harvest, Hunger Free America, and Rethink Food.
Ray said that when she initially started Yum-o, she wanted to “fund philanthropic measures,” lobby for schools to improve their food, and provide scholarships “for America's next generations,” but those initiatives have since turned into disaster relief funds.
“Today we are sending out $4 million, splitting it equally among animal relief because all of the shelters are so full and there are so many animals suffering right now,” Ray said. “And of course human relief, especially seniors and low-income or communities that have very weak infrastructure, getting food out to them.”
Ray joins other celebrities who have donated millions of dollars toward coronavirus relief.
On April 2, Oprah Winfrey announced she donated $10 million "to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country."
"I was struck by the work these organizations are doing. And while everyone's priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help," Winfrey said in an Instagram video. "I believe that America's Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need."
Rihanna’s foundation, the Clara Lionel Foundation, also donated $5 million to other organizations helping with coronavirus relief.
“When we first began this year, never could we have imagined how COVID-19 would so dramatically alter our lives," the foundation said in a statement. "It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, this pandemic will affect us all. And for the world's most vulnerable, the worst may be yet to come."