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Celebrity MasterChef winner donates prize money to Palestinian aid group

This was not Penn's first time getting political,
the actor took a sabbatical from his role on the
TV show House in order to work for the Obama
Photo by: REUTERS
Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar fame, donated his
$25,000 prize to the UNRWA USA, following his
Masterchef Celebrity Showdown win Monday night,
the aid group said in a statement on their website.
According the UNRWA USA, the group works to
inform Americans about the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the
Near East (UNRWA).
"Only in America can a guy make tacos on FOX
TV, almost lose an eye, and win $25,000 to
support Palestinian refugees," Penn explained.
"I'm thrilled to be helping UNRWA do its critical
work in Gaza and Syria. They're a lifeline for so
many families that have been struggling for
decades to meet their basic needs and achieve
their rights.”
All celebrities on Fox's Masterchef Celebrity
Showdown chose a charity to which they would
like to donate their prize money.
Penn stated that cooking for UNRWA US "seemed
like the right thing to do."
Prior to the show Penn tweeted about his choice
of charity, encouraging followers to check out the
Tonight on @MasterChefOnFox I take on
@CherylHines in a cook off 4 charity. I'm
competing for @unrwausa , check 'em out &
tune in!
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) January 2, 2017
While many fans tweeted their support, some
responded by criticizing UNRWA. One claimed that
the organization "perpetuates a crisis."
. @kalpenn Fun fact: @unrwausa
perpetuates a crisis by recognizing the
kids, grandkids and great grandkids of the
original refugees
— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer)
January 2, 2017
The organization's Executive Director Abby
Smardon told the Middle East Eye that since the
show donations have risen.
Smardon added that Penn spotlighting the "issue
of Palestinian refugees on primetime television,"
was more exciting for the organization than the
No matter what happens, @KalPenn is our
winner! We are DEEPLY humbled by your
choice to support Palestine refugees.
— UNRWA USA (@unrwausa) January 3,
This was not Penn's first time getting political.
The actor took a sabbatical from his role on the
TV show House in order to work for the Obama


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