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Coronavirus: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and more read stories to raise money for children in need

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Reese Witherspoon

The pandemic has put the food security and schooling of millions of children at risk. A group of celebrities want to help, though, by reading children’s books aloud on Instagram.

There are 30 million children in the US who rely on schools to provide them with their next meal. Which means that in this coronavirus pandemic, with schools closing across the country, many children are facing weeks or even months of food insecurity.

Celebrities are trying to raise awareness about the issue, either by donating to food banks – as Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Ben Affleck have done – or through a new initiative called Save With Stories.

Run by Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams, the organisation is hoping to raise money to help the children affected by coronavirus school closures, by live-streaming readings of popular children’s books.

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And these readings aren’t by just anyone. They’re by Garner and Adams’ very famous friends, a coterie of celebrities that include Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Jimmy Fallon – as well as Adams and Garner themselves.

The idea, according to Save With Stories, is that people can use these story book recordings as a little bit of downtime and distraction for those currently working from home or in isolation with their families. They’ve made it easy to donate, too. You can either text a donation or send through any funds you want to pledge through their website.

Watching the videos, it’s clear that Witherspoon is a natural reader. (Someone needs to book her a permanent slot on Sesame Street when all this is over.)

“I love to tell stories,” Witherspoon says, chattering away before opening Uni The Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. “Because I’m a storyteller. That’s my job, which is a whole other topic.” 

Also excellent at telling stories is Adams, although that should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen her performance as Giselle in Enchanted. Adams’ reading comes with an extra layer of the personal, too. The story she chose to read, entitled The Dinosaur Princess, was actually written by her young daughter and illustrated by her husband as a gift to her.

“This is the first time we’re sharing it, so we’re excited,” Adams admitted. In case you’re wondering, it’s a cracker of a story.

Save With Stories’ goal is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the millions of children across the US who rely on schools for their food security. You can find out more, including how to donate, here.

Food banks in the US and the UK are also suffering because of the coronavirus crisis, with some losing up to 25% of their donations, not to mention a reduction in volunteer staff. If you are in a position to help, consider donating whatever supplies or funds that you can to food banks. 

In the US, head to feedingamerica.org to find out more, and in the UK head to trusselltrust.org to locate your local food bank and find out how you can help.

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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