ATLANTA — [artist id="3187077"]Justin Bieber[/artist] is using the power of Bieber Fever to cheer up sick kids this Christmas.
The teen sensation wrapped up his current tour on Thursday night (December 23) in his beloved adopted city of Atlanta, and instead of going out with a bang, he decided to go out with a bus — a bus full of toys for kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, that is.
Bieber teamed up with local radio station Q100 for “Stuff Bieber’s Bus,” a campaign that urged concertgoers to drop off toys and games in a tricked-out bus stationed outside the city’s Philips Arena. The gifts will then be handed out to ailing children who have to spend Christmas morning resting up in the hospital instead of barreling down the stairs to a tree harboring stacks of presents.
The bus, which was only parked in front of the stadium for one day, was one-third full by 3:30 p.m., with a boatload of gifts expected to pour in by the 9 p.m. deadline. Q100 DJ and Bieber buddy Bert Weiss, who helped spearhead the project, said the 16-year-old’s storied Web clout instantly pumped up awareness about the initiative.
“I’ve been talking about it on the air for three or four weeks and I’ve got a trickle of a tweet and an email. Justin tweeted about it yesterday and all of a sudden there were a surge of targets, I got tweets and emails. So the bus is filling up really, really quickly,” Weiss told reporters at a press conference in the arena. Since Georgia’s Own Credit Union plans to match every donation, Weiss emphasized that “every single child at a children’s hospital will have a present now because of Justin Bieber.”
Bieber was amped to lend his Internet influence to the cause, as he has been chopping it up with the radio personality ever since the Canadian superstar first began to rack up hits online with his smash covers of R&B and pop jams.
“I got contacted by their radio station and Bert himself, and he asked us if we wanted to be involved … and it was just something I thought would be really cool,” Bieber told MTV News.
As for switching up the typical toy drive by packing a bus full of gifts, Bieber explained that the type of charity you choose isn’t as important as actually giving back. “I think that it doesn’t really matter what you do,” he said. “As long as you’re helping other people, why not do it?”
In addition to soliciting donations from Atlanta-area Beliebers, the pop megastar also dropped in on some sick children, and recounted meeting a superfan who didn’t let her ailment hold her back from showing she’s got tons of love for the “Baby” singer.
“One girl even had a prosthetic leg and it had my face on it. … It was so cool to meet her,” Bieber smiled. “It was amazing.”
The star, who largely batted away reporters’ questions that weren’t related to the bus-stuffing campaign, gave a simple reason for continuing to give back: “I have such a big platform, it would be silly if I didn’t do something positive with it.”
What do you think of Justin Bieber helping out sick kids on Christmas? Let us know in the comments!