They came from Survivor, Jersey Shore, Big Brother, Amazing Race and Naked and Afraid: more than 100 reality stars who descended on Orlando for Hearts of Reality, an annual fundraiser for Give Kids the World, a children’s charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
PEOPLE was part of the 3-day event — and sponsored the opening night VIP party in which the reality show alums walked the red carpet and mingled with fans. (They even posed for pictures with snakes and alligators that were brought to the party by Gatorland. which only makes sense if you remember that many of these people became famous for surviving on tropical islands.)
The point of the PEOPLE party was to introduce the stars to each other — there’s something surreal about watching Jersey Shore alum Deena Cortese mingle with Big Brother houseguests — and to allow VIP charity donors to meet the stars.
The reality stars also received their PEOPLE swag bags filled with sunglasses, Godiva chocolates, sunblock and souvenirs — everything they’d need for an August event in Florida. Spero Hope LLC, a company founded by cancer survivor Jamie Lee, donated chemical-free hygiene products.
At last count, the event has raised more than $160,000 for the charity — although more money is still coming in.
“As a huge fan myself, it was amazing to find out how real and genuine so many of the people I watched on television are,” Survivor Millenials vs. Gen X winner Adam Klein tells PEOPLE. “I love that we were able to come together in honor of bringing joy to some really special kids.”
“It was an honor working with Hearts of Reality for the first time and realizing that the money we raised was going to a non profit founded by a holocaust survivor,” added Natalie Negrotti from Big Brother 18. “It really taught me that no matter what happens in life to always give back especially to children who are in need. Putting a smile on a kids life is worth more than money can buy.”