BY TANYA BEKKER
A three-month-long fundraising effort on social media to buy a homeless man in Russia an apartment received a huge boost from a famous face on Sunday.
The campaign, launched in November by Russian activists, collected more than 700 thousand rubles ($11,700 USD) before Xenia Deli made a donation of one million rubles. Deli, a Los Angeles-based Moldovan fashion model whose face has graced the cover of Playboy and FHM, donated the money for the elderly homeless man on Sunday.
Russian activists from Krasnodar launched their campaign “Home for Uncle Misha” on Russian social network VKontakte in November in an effort to help a local man buy a home for himself. According to the fundraising campaign page on Facebook, Michael Gariyan fled to the Krasnodar in 1989 from Baku, Azerbaijan to escape a war that claimed his parents’ lives. He became known to many in his town as “Uncle Misha.” The 68-year-old man, with his long white beard, regularly goes to basketball, football and volleyball matches to support local athletics, it says on Facebook.
Deli is best known to Americans as the Victoria’s Secret model who appeared in Justin Beiber’s “What Do You Mean?” music video in 2015. Her donation took organizers of the fundraising campaign by surprise.
“On this wonderful day, in a restaurant came a graceful girl @xeniadeli Supermodel for Victoria’s Secret, and a woman with a good heart, with an envelope in her hand, filled with 1 million rubles,” wrote Armen Ambarzumyan, one of the fundraising organizers in a photo caption that was posted to Instagram on Sunday. “She gave it to Uncle Misha, hugged and congratulated him on the future purchase of a new home.” Deli and Uncle Misha were flanked by several young people in the photo and appeared to be giving in a champagne toast.
And Monday organizers officially confirmed the donation on the campaign page.
Translation: 1,765,193 rubles – on this figure, we announce the closure of the campaign!
A lot of Krasnodar media have written already that the project is closed, but it is not so. Ahead we need to obtain a passport, and choose an apartment for purchase. In general, we still have a lot of things to do. Yesterday supermodel Xenia Deli gave Uncle Misha one million rubles. We realize that this sounds stunning, but how did it happen, we can, unfortunately, tell you only in April. Patience, my friends. Frankly, yesterday in a meeting with Ksenia we experienced a real shock. Some even cried with happiness, and Uncle Misha was very happy, laughing and embracing. Once again we thank you, our dear fans! Each of you brought Uncle Misha this cherished dream! <3 Wish us strength and patience, and follow the news: we will continue to keep you informed of developments. P.S. You can see budget details in the link.
This story originally appeared on Vocativ and has been republished with permission.