Getting Seriously Silly with Red Nose Day
By Loveny Villalona
Millions across the globe, including celebrities, donned red clown noses on May 26 in an effort to help children in need.
Bronx residents came together in Edgar Allen Poe Park to celebrate the event, Red Nose Day. In addition to the money raised by the red nose purchases from Walgreens or Duane Reade, the day brought people together to create their own additional fundraisers for good causes.
Jose Minaya, 42, held his four-year-old daughter who wore a red nose. “I could never say I felt hunger, but as a child I was limited to many resources,” he said. “I would have to walk several miles just to attend school. My daughter will never know what it felt like to have to walk miles and miles under a hot beaming sun without shoes, dripping in sweat just to bring some clean water back home.”
Red Nose Day started outside of the United States and soon the phenomenon spread. In the past 25 years, the campaign has raised over $1 billion globally. Comic Relief Inc., a registered public charity, runs the campaign.
“I know what Red Nose Day is because it has become so popular on social media,” said Jonathan Lopez, 23. “So when I saw all these people (in the park) wearing red noses and taking pictures I just had to join the fun. This is something positive that the community is doing. It breaks my heart when I see homeless people or when I throw my food away because I immediately think about the millions of children and homeless people that do not have anything to eat.”
Millions of people tuned in to watch an NBC special program with appearances by celebrities and documentaries showing the struggles of the children who are the intended recipients of the fundraiser. Donations could be made online, by mail, by phone or in person by bringing cash to Walgreens or Duane Reade, which are both partners of the Red Nose campaign. Ultimately, $31.5 million was raised.
The NBC special featured comedy and fundraising ideas from celebrities. In last year’s special Jack Black met Felix, a Ugandan child who was left homeless by the death of his mother. This year, Black came back to show a documentary of Felix, now in 2016, after donations, dressed in a school uniform getting an education, living with foster parents and no longer in the streets.
Jeremy Bera, 21, one of the participants in Edgar Allen Poe Park, said that he traveled to the Dominican Republic a few years ago and saw children who walk barefoot in the streets and go hungry. “The emotions I felt were surreal,” he said. “This is real. Children are really going through hunger and poverty and it is worse in countries outside of the United States, which is why I donated 40 bucks,” he said.
In Edgar Allen Poe Park, children with painted faces played in the park, wearing red clown noses.
“Watching my nephew run freely and have fun reminds me that at a point he is going to get tired and will crash. When he gets tired I’ll take him home where he will have a clean shower, dinner and a warm bed to sleep in,” said Bera.