“Force for Change” charity raises $5 million

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Force for Change image
D.C. Barns is the lucky winner of the Force for Change contest.

J.J. Abrams, the director for Star Wars: Episode VII, has been promoting the Force for Change charity, giving fans a glimpse of an X-Wing from the movie and other sneak peaks at the set. See, Disney-owned Lucasfilm and Abrams’ Bad Robot partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to raise funds and awareness for children in need! People who donated were given a chance to win a walk-on role in the flick. After raising $5 million, the charity contest has now announced the lucky winner!

UNICEF, which is headquartered in New York, is a humanitarian organization first created in 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that suffered during World War II. Now, it has people in over 190 countries and territories, using money from governments and private donations to offer everything from healthcare to education for less fortunate children.

Given the tremendous popularity of Star Wars and the massive internet buzz whenever Abrams gives a glimpse of the set, the Force for Change has generated lots of much-needed assistance for kids across the globe. People who donated also got a chance to be a VIP guest on set in London, and win an advance screening for 20 friends! Depending on how much you donated, you could receive a limited edition t-shirt, poster, concept art, and more.

So, which lucky fan earned a walk-on role for Episode VII? A resident of Denver, Colorado named D.C. Barns was surprised by charity members with a big poster and balloons, informing him he would be in the next Star Wars. Also, J.J. Abrams took to Twitter to thank fans for their $4.26 million in donations, on top of which Lucasfilm added another $1 million.

The Force for Change campaign looked to the compassion and kindness of the Star Wars warriors, the Jedi, for its inspiration. After all, the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us. It penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” This spirit of oneness should inspire us all to be a Force for Change, so that UNICEF can continue providing life-changing aid like low-cost water hand-pumps to communities, reuniting families separated by natural disasters, and distributing the solar-powered Digital Drum that gives kids “access to quality educational content in areas without electricity”. Even though the contest is over, it’s never too late to help out the less fortunate.

Images courtesy of Disney, Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams, and Lucasfilm.