Project Angel Food proudly dedicated a star on its esteemed Path of Angels to the late George Michael on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. This dedication ceremony, hosted at Project Angel Food's site on 922 Vine Street, marked the 25th anniversary of George Michael's impactful volunteer work and the memorable press conference he held in the organization's kitchen the Monday before Thanksgiving in 1998.
Recording artist David Archuleta, K-EARTH 101’s Lisa Stanley and CEO Richard Ayoub, unveiled the star which was seen internationally on Instagram Live. Attendees bore witness to this commemorative occasion, followed by a reception commencing at 12 p.m.
On Nov. 23, 1998, the Monday before Thanksgiving, George Michael was actively engaged in preparing 34 white cakes as a volunteer at Project Angel Food. Media attention escalated swiftly as helicopters, television crews and paparazzi swarmed the location to catch a glimpse of the Grammy winner who had recently come out as gay.
Despite not seeking the media spotlight, George chose to redirect attention towards Project Angel Food’s work. His presence drew focus to the organization's mission of providing sustenance to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The ongoing support from George Michael's estate continues to significantly contribute to this cause, upholding his legacy of support.
Reflecting on George Michael's altruism, Ayoub remarked, “In 1993, during the height of the AIDS crisis, George made his initial donation to Project Angel Food. His consistent support included a substantial annual financial contribution of $25,000 and numerous acts of kindness, such as volunteering in the kitchen and donating a Mercedes for auction to raise additional funds.”
The star dedication pays homage to George Michael's enduring dedication to philanthropy and acknowledges the contributions made by the George Michael fan group Lovelies.help, among others, who have generously donated more than $35,000 to Project Angel Food in his honor.
Archuleta, reflecting on George Michael's impact, remarked, “George Michael shattered barriers and defied stereotypes. His honesty became a beacon of hope for countless members of our community yearning for acceptance in a society that often dictated our identities for us.”
The singer-songwriter recalled performing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at the seventh season finale of “American Idol” as a duet with Sir Elton John, with George surprising the audience with a performance. He became emotional as he said, “After I came out, I went back and listened to that song and had it on repeat. Because the meaning took on so much more than when I first heard it as a closeted 17-year-old on Idol. It holds the combination of feeling the pain life can bring, yet a hope for the future and empowerment that I needed — to feel seen, understood and keep going today. I am grateful for the genuine expression that was always felt in George’s voice as he sang.”
Stanley fondly remembered George Michael as “an icon, a musical giant, an inspiration, and a star whose bright light outshines all others,” highlighting his permanent place both in the organization's Path of Angels and in the hearts of many.
Project Angel Food's mission is monumental. Founded in 1989 by Marianne Williamson in the height of the AIDS crisis, the organization now provides daily meals to 2,500 critically ill individuals facing various medical conditions and delivers more than 1.5 million meals annually across Los Angeles. Our clients confront serious health challenges, often compounded by the difficulties of poverty, aging, and isolation.