Puerto Rico relief: ‘Better Call Saul’ star promotes benefit; Aniston donates $1M

Two actors from the hit series Breaking Bad will be among the hosts at an Albuquerque fundraiser next week for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Bob Odenkirk, who still plays sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman in the spinoff, Better Call Saul, is sponsoring a benefit event in Albuquerque, he said on Twitter

“Albuquerque! A benefit event for Puerto Rico — October 23 with my friend Steven Quezada of Breaking Bad. Join in if you can!” Odenkirk posted, with a picture of the invitation.

Albuquerque is where Breaking Bad was filmed and home to Better Call Saul as well.

Steven Michael Quezada, who played DEA agent Steven Gomez in Breaking Bad, is now an elected member of the New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Commission, which covers the county that includes Albuquerque.

The $50-per-person event will be held at an Albuquerque brewery and is part of a broader effort by actress Anne Heche to raise money for the island. It will feature a raffle, a silent auction and entertainment.

Heche, who is filming the NBC drama The Brave in Albuquerque, also is co-hosting “The Brave Ones for Puerto Rico” on Oct. 23. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Heche has been raising money through crowdrise.com for two weeks and has already raised nearly $20,000 for those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. 

Jennifer Aniston

On the same day President Trump threatened to pull FEMA and the U.S. military out of Puerto Rico, Jennifer Aniston pledged $1 million toward the U.S. commonwealth’s recovery effort.

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The Friends star donated $500,000 apiece to the American Red Cross and the Ricky Martin Foundation. In his thank-you tweet, the singer said she was “saving lives” and pledged, “We will never forget.”

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper joined the effort to send aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico in early October, announcing that his sold-out Hollywood Bowl concert would stream on YouTube and give viewers the option to make donations live to the charity Direct Relief.

He follows in the footsteps of the music streaming service TIdal, which announced it would donate the net proceeds from its annual benefit to “natural disaster relief and recovery organizations.” (They will be divided among efforts for victims of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Irma and the earthquakes that hit Mexico.)

Tidal

The Tidal X Brooklyn show, scheduled for Oct. 17, will feature Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled, Daddy Yankee, Cardi B, Kaskade and Rapsody. It will be hosted by New York radio personality Angie Martinez with special appearances by Rosie Perez and Lin-Manuel Miranda, both native New Yorkers whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth whose inhabitants are all U.S. citizens.

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In a statement to USA TODAY, Tidal announced the money raised by the show will go to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico by “covering the cost of cargo planes desperately needed to transport donated goods (i.e., cleaning supplies, toiletries, canned food, clothing, etc.) to Puerto Rico.” 

For his part, Cuomo said, “After seeing the terrible devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands firsthand, it is clear that those affected by these natural disasters need our help more than ever.  We in New York are putting the full weight of our resources behind recovery efforts, and I am grateful to Tidal X Brooklyn and its sponsors for joining us and helping to deliver much-needed goods to people in desperate need.  We must do everything we can to help these communities rebuild, and I encourage all New Yorkers to join us in our efforts.”

The metropolitan New York area is home to one of the largest concentrations of Puerto Ricans outside of the Caribbean and celebrates each June with the Puerto Rican Day Parade, a tradition that marked its 60th anniversary this year.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

In his op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter, Miranda made a personal plea for aid following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, arguing the U.S. territory needs it as badly as Texas or Florida. He noted that his late grandfather’s house, where he visited every summer growing up, was destroyed.

“Puerto Ricans need supplies and resources just as badly as their fellow Americans in Texas and Florida, and this need is magnified by their geographic isolation from the mainland,” he wrote. 

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez, whose parents also were born in Puerto Rico, teamed up with ex-husband Marc Anthony and her boyfriend Alex Rodiguez to pledge $1 million to relief efforts for the island.

Daddy Yankee

Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee, who had a massive hit with this summer’s Despacito, pledged $1 million to Hurricane Maria relief efforts on his native island. The money comes on top of 10 truckloads of supplies donated by fans at his concerts.

Pitbull

Rapper Pitbull, who comes from a Cuban family in Miami, sent his private plane to Puerto Rico to evacuate cancer patients to the U.S. to resume their chemotherapy.

Ricky Martin

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin touched down in his hometown and unloaded supplies for hurricane victims. He has crowdfunded more than $2 million through his Ricky Martin Foundation to donate to the people of Puerto Rico.

Bethenny Frankel

Real Housewives of New York personality Bethenny Frankel sent several planes with supplies to Puerto Rico through her crisis intervention charity, B Strong. She tweeted that in addition to the planes and cargo sent to the islands, her organization has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward relief efforts. 

Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum, The Associated Press

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