Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry has pledged to donate $1 million to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort, with $250,000 of that going to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, which has served as a major distribution center of supplies for Texas flood victims.
In a video posted on Facebook, Mr. Perry urged fans to understand all the facts before rushing to judge Mr. Osteen, who came under fire earlier this week after reports that his large Houston church didn’t immediately open as a shelter for displaced residents.
Mr. Osteen said the church never closed its doors to anyone in need, and that the church, partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and World Relief, was currently operating as a collection center for supplies and a shelter for Houston residents.
Mr. Perry said he recently spoke with Mr. Osteen and his wife, Victoria, calling them “amazing people.”
“I know that there’s been some controversy about Joel Osteen and him not opening the doors of the church,” he said in the video. “Let me tell you something: Joel and Victoria are amazing people — there’s no way that they would lock people out of the church or not let people in for shelter.
“There were some safety concerns, and I spoke to them on the phone, and it all made perfect sense to me,” he added. “So, before you just run and judge someone real quick, you need to know the whole circumstances.”
Lakewood Church thanked Mr. Perry for his “kind words and amazing generosity.”
Mr. Perry said he is also donating $250,000 to Rudy Rasmus, Beyonce’s pastor, who is also setting up a supplies collection center for Houston residents.
“Thank you, Pastor Rudy. Thank you, Pastor Joel Osteen,” Mr. Perry said in his video. “I know that both of you are doing the right thing by all the people in Houston.”
Mr. Perry said he’s still trying to decided where to donate the remaining $500,000 of his $1 million pledge.
“Make sure you are giving to people that are getting the monies directly to the people that need it,” he cautioned fans. “If you want to give, I will challenge you to find someone who has boots on the ground and who can really be effective.”
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