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.