Britney Spears and more than 100 other artists, including Linkin Park, the Strokes, Shakira and the X-ecutioners, have pitched in to help survivors of Hurricane Charley by autographing guitars for an online auction called Storm Aid.
"It's devastating to us to see people lose their homes," Incubus guitarist Mike Einzinger said. "And hopefully our contribution will help ease the burden for some of the victims affected by the storm. We're honored to do our part."
The auction, at StormAid.com, is organized by Clear Channel and runs until September 20. Spears' autographed Takamine acoustic guitar currently lists at $950. More than 40 guitars are up for bid, with an autographed Alan Jackson acoustic the current high item, at $3,500. A guitar autographed by the Strokes and the X-ecutioners (along with Dashboard Confessional, Kid Rock, Hoobastank and Thursday) stands at $950. Other artists signing guitars include LL Cool J, Nappy Roots and Korn. All profits from the auctions go directly to the Red Cross and displaced victims of the storm.
Charley made landfall on Florida's Southwestern coast on August 13 at 3:45 p.m., with winds clocked at 145 mph. Over the next nine hours, the storm ripped through the state, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved more than $59 million in disaster aid for 23,442 households, though more than 136,000 households have applied for FEMA aid. Twenty-five counties in Florida were declared disaster areas, and according to Risk Management Systems, a disaster-area surveyor, damages total more than $6 billion.
"Our sympathies and thoughts go out to all the families that lost homes and whose lives were adversely affected by Hurricane Charley," said Hoobastank singer Doug Robb, who donated a guitar. "We will do what we can to help those families get back on their feet. We all need to help in some way."
"I've been stunned by the artists' donations and their cooperation," said Jay Meyers, Clear Channel Radio's senior vice president for Florida and the Southeast. "And people here at Clear Channel who own autographed guitars are willing to donate them too. We're after every nickel possible to help the people of Florida."