Katy Perry surprised concertgoers at a benefit for first responder survivors of January’s deadly mudslide in Montecito, Cal.
The “One805 Kick Ash Bash” benefit fundraiser was attended by 2,000 people Sunday and raised nearly $2 million for survivors of the mudslide that claimed the lives of 21 people.
Speaking to CNN, Perry, who grew up in nearby Goleta, Cal., said she wanted to help her community.
“This means the world to me,” Perry said. “This is where I flourish. My heart was broken by the tragedy, the mudslide. I’ll do anything to help this community.”
Perry also met backstage with survivors, including 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, whose father died in the mudslide, and whose brother is still missing.
Cantin performed “God Bless America” at the concert, and Perry told her, “You can sing,” when they met backstage.
Ellen DeGeneres, who lives in Montecito, was also at the event, telling CNN, “The news has moved on, but we have not moved on.”
The talk show host compared the devastation from the mudslides to some of what she saw in her hometown of New Orleans after hurricanes. “And it’s not just rich people and billionaires, it’s everybody,” she said.