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Kal Penn won the MasterChef Celebrity Showdown on Monday and donated his entire winnings to Palestinian refugees.
According to NBC News, Penn, an actor and former staff member of the Obama administration as an associate director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, beat Curb Your Enthusiasm actress Cheryl Hines with his beer-braised fish tacos.
“Only in America can a guy make tacos on FOX TV, almost lose an eye, and win $25,000 to support refugees,” Penn wrote in a note he posted on Twitter. “We are so fortunate as Americans to live in a country as prosperous as ours.”
Lots of great, thoughtful questions about how celebs choose their respective NGOs for celebrity Master Chef! Here’s how I chose mine: pic.twitter.com/RbzwhO6pto
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) January 4, 2017
Penn picked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to be the recipient of his $25,000 prize money.
“I’m thrilled to be helping UNRWA do its critical work in Gaza and Syria,” Penn said.
“They’re a lifeline for so many families that have been struggling for decades to meet their basic needs and achieve their rights.”
— MasterChef (@MASTERCHEFonFOX) January 3, 2017
“Much of our own media attention is focused away from the human stories of children and families who are suffering due to displacement against the rule of international law, terrorism, and violence from so many sides,” Penn continued.
“So having the chance to cook to benefit refugee families on MasterChef seemed like the right thing to do.”