One Philly family got a couple big surprises during a visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Show that is scheduled to air today, including a $20,000 check and a slew of prizes.
Ellen superfan Amber Connolly, 23, recently showed up to a taping of Ellen, where she was called up on stage to join the show’s host. After a highly emotional, tearful introduction, DeGeneres read aloud a letter that Connolly had sent her describing her family’s charitable efforts despite a dire financial situation.
“We don’t have much, but you inspire us to give to those in greater need,” Connolly, a Temple grad, wrote in her letter. “We couldn’t afford Christmas again this year, so we decided to use the little money we had to buy hats and gloves for the homeless.”
DeGeneres said she was touched by the letter, and immediately brought out Connolly’s first surprise: her family. Single mother Carolyn and brothers Calen, Kamran, and Khye all joined DeGeneres and Connolly on stage for the remainder of the segment, which was just as tearful as Connolly’s introduction.
Caroline, a social worker in Philadelphia, told DeGeneres that charity is important to her family because “that could be myself or my family one day,” and she wants her kids to see how they can help people.
“If they live it and see it and help, they’ll give back and teach their children,” she said.
Because the family found itself living paycheck-to-paycheck, DeGeneres said she wanted to help, and donated $20,000 to the family courtesy of Wal-Mart. The host also made up for the family’s missed Christmas with a prize pack that included all the items in the Ellen show’s recent 12 Days of Giveaways, including a 4K television, Dyson vacuum cleaner, luggage, and gift cards.
Ellen, of course, is popular in the Philly area, and last year came to town — sans DeGeneres — to film a segment in Center City. Kalen Allen, who regularly appears on her show, is a Temple University student who began appearing on the show after going viral online last year.
Ellen airs on NBC weekdays at 3 p.m.