Celebrity MasterChef winner donates prize money to Palestinian aid group

This was not Penn's first time getting political, the actor took a sabbatical from his role on the TV show House in order to work for the Obama administration.

January 4, 2017 15:07
1 minute read.
Actor Kal Penn

Actor Kal Penn . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar fame, donated his $25,000 prize to the UNRWA USA, following his Masterchef Celebrity Showdown win Monday night, the aid group said in a statement on their website.

According the UNRWA USA, the group works to inform Americans about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

"Only in America can a guy make tacos on FOX TV, almost lose an eye, and win $25,000 to support Palestinian refugees," Penn explained.

"I'm thrilled to be helping UNRWA do its critical work in Gaza and Syria. They're a lifeline for so many families that have been struggling for decades to meet their basic needs and achieve their rights.”

All celebrities on Fox's Masterchef Celebrity Showdown chose a charity to which they would like to donate their prize money.

Penn stated that cooking for UNRWA US "seemed like the right thing to do."

Prior to the show Penn tweeted about his choice of charity, encouraging followers to check out the charity. 
While many fans tweeted their support, some responded by criticizing UNRWA. One claimed that the organization "perpetuates a crisis."
The organization's Executive Director Abby Smardon told the Middle East Eye that since the show donations have risen.

Smardon added that Penn spotlighting the "issue of Palestinian refugees on primetime television," was more exciting for the organization than the donations.

This was not Penn's first time getting political. The actor took a sabbatical from his role on the TV show House in order to work for the Obama administration.

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