Ellen DeGeneres has arranged for a $1 million donation to a Texas high school devastated by Hurricane Harvey in August.
On Tuesday's edition of her daytime talk show, DeGeneres, 60, detailed how the gym at the Rockport-Fulton High School in Rockport, Texas, had been a second home to students, particularly the girls' volleyball team. "I know that your gym was more than just a gym to all of you; it was important to your entire community," she told a crowd of students and others on a live feed from a nearby middle-school gym. "So I'm gonna help," she said, announcing that the Lowe's home-improvement chain was committing the money, as well as the expertise of workers from nearby stores.
"It really is the biggest gift we've ever given," DeGeneres added.
A coastal town of about 8,800 in southeastern Texas, Rockport was among the communities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 25. The Category 4 storm killed an estimated 50 people statewide and damaged 200,000 homes, leaving what the governor called $180 billion in destruction. The school district encompassing Rockport suffered $55 million in damages.
On April 9, a since-deleted post on the high school's Facebook page had announced, "A big event on Tuesday after school is the taping of an Ellen Show program that includes an invite to all RFHS students to participate," according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "Wear school colors!" Degeneres explained on Tuesday's show, "They gathered with their entire school because they think they're filming a video for Ellentube," her show's online video site. "But I'm gonna give them a little surprise."
In August, DeGeneres was among the many celebrities offering help to the areas affected by the hurricane, pledging $25,000 to the American Red Cross and another $25,000 to the SPCA of Texas. "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" additionally pledged $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross.