The live broadcast of Project Angel Food's LEAD WITH LOVE 4 presented by City National Bank proved to be a resounding success on June 24, 2023. It surpassed its $800,000 goal with a remarkable total of $823,735 marking the fourth year in a row that the telethon’s goal was met. The two-hour event aired live on KTLA 5.
Emmy-winner Sheryl Lee Ralph opened the show, Carol Burnett made a rare television appearance, and Martin Sheen shared a special message to the viewers. The night was filled with fan favorites, celebrity messages, an All-Star Phone Bank of celebrities taking donor calls, and musical performances.
"Chicago Med" star Steven Weber made his debut as host of LEAD WITH LOVE 4 and KTLA Morning News anchor Jessica Holmes returned to host the annual televised event and were joined by Loni Love and Alec Mapa who also returned as dynamic co-hosts.
Executive produced by television veteran, Brad Bessey, along with Michael Levitt, Ayoub, KTLA’s Marcus Smith and Jacob Burch, and Mark McBride, sponsorships, the live two-hour fundraising special was jam-packed with surprises, energy and fun. Bessey says, “We are absolutely delighted that Steven Weber graciously stepped in for his dear friend Eric McCormack this year, infusing the show with an abundance of joy, laughter, and heartfelt moments. He truly brought a captivating and memorable experience to this year's event.”
The All-Star Phone Bank, emceed by Mapa, created the most unpredictable and entertaining segments of the night with Mindy Cohn, Kim Coles, Lacretta, Jai Rodriguez, Jonathan Del Arco, Rachel Lindsay, Lawrence Zarian and Gregory Zarian talking to donors throughout the night and creating comedy chaos along the way.
In addition to American Idols David Archuleta and Grace Kinstler, and Rachel Platten’s live performances, musical highlights included Pentatonix, who performed a powerful version of “Sound of Silence,” and Chrissy Metz, who performed her hit song “Better Than I Found It.”
Celebrity messages flooded in from supporters Carol Burnett, Cindy Crawford, Chelsea Handler, Kris Jenner, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Lori Loughlin, Eric McCormack, Chrissy Metz, Niecy Nash-Betts, Marie Osmond, Sarah Paulson, Pentatonix, Pauley Perrette, Melissa Peterman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Martin Sheen, Sherri Shepherd, Jodie Sweetin and Tiffani Thiessen.
Ayoub reflected, “It is truly heartening to witness the proactive response of the city as it rallies to support us in tackling this pressing issue of providing Medically Tailored Meals to thousands of people who need us most.” Donations are still being accepted for LEAD WITH LOVE 4 at angelfood.org/love.
Sponsors for LEAD WITH LOVE 4 presented by City National Bank include City National Bank, Herb Ritts Foundation, Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel, Ralphs•Food 4 Less, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Bezdek Family Charitable Fund, Ron Burkle, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, Mary Fisher, Michael J. Libow, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, SoCalGas, Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, Exelixis, Gilead, L.A. Care Health Plan, Have A Heart Save A Heart, The Oskowitz Family, Jason Ball and Troy Jones, Maureen and Paula Rubeli Foundation, Victoria Principal, Michael Willard, and W Hollywood.
Project Angel Food feeds critically ill men, women, and children in Los Angeles County. The organization delivers Medically Tailored Meals, with care and compassion, directly to the client’s homes. More than 2,500 vulnerable Angelenos are fed daily, with more than 1.5 million meals delivered each year.