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Ben Stiller, Colin Kaepernick, and Others Raise Millions to Help Famine-Hit Somalia

In less than a week, the high-profile group has exceeded its $2 million goal.
Image: Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller appears in an image posted to a GoFundMe page raising funds to fight famine in Somalia.Love Army For Somalia/GoFundMe

Celebrities, athletes and internet personalities have raised more than $2 million since Friday as part of a campaign to bring relief to parts of Somalia suffering from famine.

Actor Ben Stiller teamed up with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Vine personality Jérôme Jarre, YouTube stars Juanpa Zurita and Casey Neistat, trainer and activist Chakabars Clarke, and others to build an army of support for the people most impacted by the famine.

Image: Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller appears in an image posted to a GoFundMe page raising funds to fight famine in Somalia.Love Army For Somalia/GoFundMe

After the high-profile group began sending out social media pleas, Turkish Airlines agreed to donate a cargo plane to carry 60 tons of food to the West African country.

“We [love] Somalia,” Turkish Airlines said in a tweet. “We got the call for this meaningful flight.”

The airline later tweeted that they were in talks with the group to devise a plan for the flight.

With the airline on board, the team set up a GoFundMe page titled “Love Army for Somalia.” In just 24 hours, the fundraiser exploded with donations — climbing to more than $1 million by the end of the first day.

“Right now, we've proved how much our power doesn't mean much individually, but has the potential to move mountains (AIRPLANES!!!) when we UNITE!” Jarre wrote on the GoFundMe page. “That's why we've decided to raise money all together.”

After the celebrities used their individual Twitter accounts to raise awareness and posted messages with #LoveArmyForSomalia, support came pouring in from every corner of the internet. In less than a week, the group exceeded its $2 million goal by almost $100,000.

The first flight to Somalia is scheduled for March 27, and the “Love Army” said it is planning on purchasing all the food from Turkey in order to put money back into the country’s economy as a thank you. After that, they said they hope to find ways to buy goods from Somali markets as a way to invest in that country while continuing to bring relief.

“Love Army” says on its page that it plans on sending rice, vegetable cooking oil, nutritional biscuits, flour, sugar and porridge aboard its first shipment. They also plan to dispatch water trucks to the region.

The site says it has teamed up with NGO American Refugee Committee and will donate the funds through the Stiller Foundation.

“Jérôme Jarre had this crazy idea to take an action and its actually happening so congrats to everybody. I’ve never seen anything like it. From my experience on Twitter, I’ve never had more tweets retweeted,” Stiller said in a video posted to Twitter. “… It’s now time to get the food on the planes.”

In a video posted by Turkish Airlines, a pilot says the airline is “proud to be part of this great cause.”

"As the only airline that connects Somalia to the world, we will be happy to deliver your love and assistance to Somalia on your behalf," the pilot says.

American Refugee Committee and Turkish Airlines did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Earlier this month, after a visit to parts of Somalia struggling with cholera and famine, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to lend its support to the country.

"Every single person we have seen is a personal story of tremendous suffering. There is no way to describe it," Guterres said.

During the trip, his first as U.N. chief, Guterres said the famine crisis has affected 6 million people — nearly half of Somalia’s population.

Earlier this month 110 people died in a 48-hour period due to the famine crisis, the Associated Press reported.

"It makes me feel extremely unhappy with the fact that in today's world, with the ... the richness that exists, that these things are still possible. It is unbelievable," Guterres said.

Somalia — in addition to other countries struggling with or on the verge of famine, including Yemen, Nigeria and South Sudan — is part of a massive $4 billion aid appeal launched in February.