Here in the United States, Red Nose Day is celebration of silly that started just last year. What many (on this side of the pond at least) don’t know is, Red Nose Day was born over in the UK in 1988 as a way to make people aware of poverty and initiate change by using humor, celebrities, and squishy red noses!
I first learned about Red Nose Day in 2009 by listening to The Chris Moyles Show on, then, XM29. [Long live U-Pop & WorldSpace!] Chris Moyles, a crazy DJ on BBC’s Radio 1, had always been a huge supporter of Comic Relief. He stayed on the air for 52 hours straight in 2011, set a new world record and raised over £2Million for Comic Relief Inc., Red Nose Day’s parent organization. (And a completely separate organization from Billy, Whoopi, and Robin’s Comic Relief.)
Ever watch the movies Love, Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary or Four Weddings and a Funeral? The writer (and sometimes director) of these great films and many more, Richard Curtis, partnered with British comedian Lenny Henry to create Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. If you know anything about his films, you’ll know straightaway that the concept of love is often a central theme. As a fan of his and all involved, I began supporting of one of Mr. Curtis’s other big philanthropic efforts, Make Poverty History (known as the ONE Campaign and Project (RED) in the US), in 2005. Red Nose Day, I believe, is an extension of Mr. Curtis’s huge heart because, as scary as the world can seem sometimes… Love really IS all around. Especially for children in need.
According to its website, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally in the last 25 years, and in the UK has become a cultural phenomenon where people across the country come together to have fun, raise money and change lives. Red Nose Day launched in the U.S. in 2015, dedicated to raising money to help children who are most in need, both in the U.S. and in some of the poorest communities in the world. The money raised by Red Nose Day in 2015 benefited children and young people in all 50 states and in 15 countries internationally. Here’s an example of how the UK does Red Nose Day…
How does the US do Red Nose Day? We do it just as big with as many laughs, celebrities, red noses and heart! Take a look at how last year went…
Here’s an alarming fact: One out of five children here in the United States lives in poverty. That is UNACCEPTABLE to me, and it should be to every resident. United Against Poverty Orlando reports, in Orlando 27.5% of children live in poverty.** Within the City Beautiful, there are neighborhoods with an alarming rate of at-risk kids, such as the Parramore Heritage community a 1.4 square-mile neighborhood that is nearby the CFOC campus. It is home to over 2,000 children, 73% of whom live in poverty.***
What can we do? Donate your time, talents or resources to a local shelter or food pantry. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, a member of Feeding America, has a great page with ways to help. Be a mentor to a child. Be a friend to a family in need. Start a Red Nose Day FUN-raiser. Have fun with it! Red Nose Yourself! Buy a nose, take a #RedNoseDay selfie and share it with the world!
Or, just watch NBC (WESH in Central Florida) tonight at 9pm. Enjoy the show and consider making a donation. I’ll be live tweeting tonight’s broadcast on my personal account, @jenvargas, so please join me! (I’ll also be sharing goofy pictures on my Instagram page.)
Shout out to all Central Floridians rocking a Red Nose today. Thank you for helping change lives here in the United States AND in countries around the world! Don’t have a Red Nose? Head over to your local Walgreens and buy a nose for $1! Walgreens also has some awesome Red Flair – you can even buy a Red Nose for your car!
Watch how the kids and parents of Champions Gymnastic Club in Jacksonville and their local Walgreens are supporting Red Nose Day!
Happy Red Nose Day, Central Florida!!