Melissa L. Williams is doing her part to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Around this time last year I was working at a restaurant and I probably wouldn’t have been able to survive during this time,” she tells PEOPLE. “The response that I received was more than what I expected, which shows that there’s people in need. It’s crucial for all of us to come together to help each other and I’ve been blessed to be able to continue to do that.”
To make this generous act happen, Williams began interacting with her fans on Instagram, who all expressed a need for the money due to the financial hardships they were experiencing during this time.
In multiple screenshots provided to PEOPLE, the actress can be seen asking each fan what their Cash App username is before sending several people $100 each for “whatever you need it for.” While the screenshot showed seven donations, PEOPLE confirms she helped a total of 14.
Melissa L. Williams Melissa L. Williams’ Cash App activity
Melissa L. Williams
Though their reasons differed — one user explained that she was having trouble supporting her family after her husband was laid off, while another said the money would help feed herself and her daughter — all were incredibly grateful for the kind gesture.
“Thank you once again! I just don’t know how to stop thanking you. This was just sweet of you!” wrote one person in response.
“You’re such a blessing. You have no idea what you just did. You’re giving back from the blessings you have received,” added another fan. “Thanks again for giving back to your fans.”
Melissa L. Williams
Melissa L. Williams/Instagram
Williams, who also stars in Perry’s The Oval on BET, joins a long list of celebrities who have been giving back as COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread around the globe.
Ciara and Russell Wilson announced in a video message on March 17 that they will be donating a million meals to Seattle Food LifeLine, a local food bank in Seattle — where the NFL star plays football — to aid in relief efforts during the pandemic.
“We want to encourage everyone out there to join us in whatever way that you can, big or small. Everything makes a difference. Everything that we do together makes a difference,” Ciara said. “Together, we will conquer this tough time we are going through.”
“COVID-19 has brutally impacted older adults and love income families,” Reynolds shared in an Instagram note. “Blake and I are donating $1 million to be split between FEEDING AMERICA and FOOD BANKS CANADA.”
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Melissa L. Williams
Houston Texans’ JJ Watt and wife Kealia Ohai donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank, while Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and fiancé Tom Bernthal launched the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Feeding Families in partnership with their local food bank to ensure families were being fed during the crisis.
Bethenny Frankel has also been doing her part by raising money to put together “BStrong corona kits” with a special focus on delivering masks to medical professionals through her disaster relief initiative, BStrong, and their partner, Global Empowerment Mission.
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As of Monday afternoon, there have been over 39,819 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 458 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
New York currently leads the country with at least 20,875 cases, while New Jersey, California, and Washington follow behind with over 1,800 cases, respectively, the Times reported.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.