‘Parks and Recreation’ Special Raised $3 Million for Feeding America

NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” special was designed to raise funds for coronavirus relief and viewers can continue donating through May 21.

Critics loved last night’s heartfelt “Parks and Recreation” reunion special, and the one-off episode has enjoyed early success in its mission to raise funds for charity. The special has raised $3 million for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, according to NBC.

Last night’s telecast of “A Parks and Recreation Special,” sponsored by State Farm and Subaru of America, has currently raised $3 million for Feeding America. That statistic includes the $500,000 in matching donations from State Farm, Subaru of America, NBCUniversal and the producers, writers, and cast of “Parks and Recreation.”

Variety reported around noon on Friday that the special had raised $2.8 million. That number has since increased, but it’s just a starting point for the special, which is streaming on YouTube, Peacock, the NBC App, Hulu, and On Demand. People can continue to contribute through May 21 at www.FeedingAmerica.org/ParksandRec.

While the special served as a much-welcome reunion for Pawnee’s beloved characters, it was specifically designed to raise funds for coronavirus relief. Paul Rudd opened the special with a bit that was both in-character and fourth wall-breaking, where he implored viewers to donate to Feeding America. Popups for the charity appeared throughout the episode, which closed with Amy Poehler echoing the importance of donating to Feeding America and other charities involved with coronavirus relief.

Though the circumstances leading to the reunion were grim, the “Parks and Recreation” special was a consistently uplifting and entertaining affair that earned widespread praise from television critics. IndieWire’s Ben Travers chose to eschew a traditional review format, instead shaping his write-up as a recap of the episode’s best moments that deserved extra donations.

“It’s fun. I loved it. Spending 30 minutes visiting these fake characters who I haven’t seen in five years ranked right up there with many of my Zoom calls to friends and family who I haven’t seen in what feels like five years,” Travers said in his episode coverage. “And really, at the end of the day, there’s no point in breaking down the pros and cons of a fundraiser meant to help people by raising much-needed donations for Feeding America and relieving audiences from their worries for 30 minutes. What matters is a) donating — so you better donate, and b) maintaining the joyful feeling brought about by the reunion.”

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‘Parks and Recreation’ reunion to raise money for Feeding America

LOS ANGELES — The original cast members of “Parks and Recreation” are getting back to work for a coronavirus-related fundraising special.

Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman and Adam Scott are among the sitcom’s stars to be featured in the half-hour special airing 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 30, on NBC.

The story reflects the real-life crisis, with Poehler’s Leslie Knope striving to stay in touch with her friends while observing social distancing.

“Like a lot of other people, we were looking for ways to help and felt that bringing these characters back for a night could raise some money,” said executive producer Michael Schur. “I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes.”

Schur said he hopes everyone enjoys the special and, as he said in a statement, “donates!”

Contributions will go to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which is helping food banks serve vulnerable community members, NBC said. Up to $500,000 in donations made through May 21 will be matched with contributions from NBC Universal, the sitcom’s cast, writers and producers, and State Farm and Subaru of America.

“Parks and Recreation,” about an Indiana’s town idiosyncratic public officials, ended its seven-season run in 2015.

Other cast members taking part in the special include Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir and Retta. Guests from the sitcom’s “Pawnee universe may pop in,” NBC said.

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