Posthumous Honor For Pop Star George Michael
Legendary performer, George Michael, will receive Project Angel Food’s Elizabeth Taylor Leadership Award on August 19. Former American Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert, will pay tribute to the late singer/songwriter — joining the ranks of Adele and Chris Martin. Lambert, who is taking a break from touring with Queen, will perform several of Michael’s songs during the 27th Annual Angel Awards Gala. The late pop star is being honored [posthumously] for his support of the organization for nearly a quarter-century.
The Faith singer learned of Project Angel Food (PAF) during his time living in Los Angeles in the early 90’s.
“We were in the media, we were serving people with AIDS and his partner died of AIDS and he fell in love with us,” said PAF Executive Director, Richard Ayoub.
Ayoub is referring to Michael’s then-partner, Brazilian designer, Anselmo Feleppa, who died due to complications from AIDS in 1993.
“If he saw something that touched his heart, he just responded to it,” commented Ayoub regarding Michael’s involvement with the organization.
Michael is the largest individual donor of Project Angel Food — having given over $500,000 in order to keep the kitchen open serving lifesaving meals to people living with critical illness in Los Angeles County. The music legend gave generously to the organization until his untimely death on December 25, 2016.
“I don’t know how many organizations he supported for twenty-three years, but that’s a lot,” said Ayoub of the singer’s generosity.
The mega star was very keen on Project Angel Food — he was adamant about donating his time to the organization when in 1998, the multi-platinum recording artist was ordered to perform community service for his arrest in Beverly Hills.
According to Ayoub, “[George] only essentially volunteered in the kitchen one day because there were so many paparazzi around it just was no longer feasible for him to come through.”
That same year, he and his longtime partner at the time, Kenny Goss, helped bake and frost white cakes for birthday deliveries for the non-profit — although the clients would never know their birthday treats were hand made by the superstar, Goss recalled how much joy Michael expressed in participating in that particular task.
During the gala, Goss will introduce a tribute video and talk about his connection to the late musician. And Michael’s family has sent a letter and asked that it be read aloud during the awards ceremony — they have also requested that one of Project Angel Food’s clients accept the award in Michael’s honor. At the time of publishing this article, the client had not been named.
Nordstrom will also be honored, as a longtime corporate partner and active participant in the Project Angel Food mission. KTLA- 5’s Jason Ball, Vice President News and Gayle Anderson, KTLA 5 Morning News Reporter will also be recognized for their outstanding commitment to the orgainzation and its ongoing support of individuals and families in need.
And a surprise celebrity guest has been added to the roster. Pop artist, Aaron Carter will attend the event marking the performer’s first public event appearance since coming out as bi-sexual. Ayoub said that the non-profit is grateful that Carter wants to attend and support Project Angel Food.
Tickets to the gala are no longer available. However, PAF will stream the red carpet live on Facebook as well as portions of the awards programming throughout the evening. Tune in to the Project Angel Food Facebook page August 19 at 6 PM PT. Follow all of the evening’s events via social media — Twitter @ProjAngelFood; Instagram @ProjectAngelFood; Snapchat AngelFoodIsLove and using the hashtag #AngelAwards
About Project Angel Food: The mission of Project Angel Food is to feed and nourish the sick as they battle critical illness. They believe their clients should not have to choose between purchasing the medicine they so desperately need or suffer the ravages of hunger and malnutrition. Since its inception, the organization has provided more than 10.5 million meals, free of charge and continues to prepare more than 11,000 meals a week. These lifesaving deliveries bring love and sustenance to people living with critical illness. Project Angel Food has expanded the initial mission of serving people living with HIV/AIDS to include medically tailored meals, for men and women combatting cancer, kidney failure, congestive heart disease and diabetes. More than 98% of the clients are living well below the poverty level, 54% are living alone and 53% are 60 years of age or older. Project Angel Food is their lifeline, filling a vital need in all communities. The client demographics are testimony to this, 40% Latino, 30% African-American, 21% Caucasian, 5% Asian and 4% other.
“Food is the center of our daily lives. We can never take for granted how important a simple meal, made well, can be to saving a life, helping someone in need or to aid in overcoming illness,” said Chef Rory Herrmann, Chef and Owner, Barrel & Ashes and Culinary Director, Angel Awards Gala.
More information about the organization and how to donate can be found on their website.
*This article has been updated to reflect other honorees during the Angel Awards Gala.
*This article has been updated to include newly released information regarding surprise celebrity guest, Aaron Carter and the organization’s social media handles.