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Stars Speak Out: Hollywood Forgets That Americans Need Charitable Support

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Rebecca Gayheart and Eva Mendes at the 6th Annual Butterfly Ball in Los Angeles on June 5, 2010. (Anna Weber/WireImage)

Whether it be donating millions to relief funds for natural disasters like Haiti’s earthquake, adopting children from destitute countries, or becoming ambassadors for a multitude of global organizations, Hollywood power players can be generous when it comes to helping overseas nations in desperate need.

However, there are some celebrities who say that while charitable giving overseas is important, the entertainment industry has a propensity to overlook the fact that many Americans need charitable support, too.

“We forget we have our own impoverished kids that need adopting, we have our own really needy community,” Christina Ricci told Pop Tarts at the 6th Annual Butterfly Ball in Los Angeles over the weekend. “I absolutely feel that we do tend to forget about America.”

The Butterfly Ball was conceived by actress Rebecca Gayheart, and raises funds for the Chrysalis Organization, which is dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals in the Los Angeles area transition from poverty, regain their dignity, and improve their lives through employment.

And being able to assist those close to home was the reason Gayheart chose to devote her time and effort to this particular organization.

“I think that [American-based charities are neglected in Hollywood] a lot, and that’s part of what drew me to Chrysalis. I really love that it’s here where I live. I sleep better at night knowing that I’m doing something very small to help the homeless in Los Angeles,” she said, as husband Eric Dane nodded in agreement. “We have the largest homeless problem in the nation. There’s 50,000 men, women, and children sleeping on the streets every night here.”

Meanwhile, bigwig producer/director Brett Ratner was honored at the prestigious benefit for his long-time commitment to Chrysalis, and agreed that local concerns can often be left off Hollywood’s help list.

“When there’s a disaster, the world has to collectively help countries that are suffering, like Haiti, but there’s also pain and suffering in our own backyard,” Ratner said.

On that note, last week Pop Tarts asked why, unlike other global disasters, very few power players in show business were taking action to combat the devastating oil spill that continues to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

“Hollywood stars have a romance with saving foreign countries, they see America as this rich and powerful country that should fix problems on its own,” media expert Michael Levine explained.

Eva Mendes disagrees.

“I sometimes hear people say that [America is forgotten in Hollywood], but I’m not from that school of thought,” Mendes told Pop Tarts. “Wherever we can save and wherever we can help, that’s where we go – whether it’s in our own backyard or globally. It doesn’t matter to me as long as we’re doing something to help.”

“Everyone needs help which is what it really comes down to,” former “House” star Jennifer Morrison added. “There are a lot of things in America, especially with the economy the way it is, that need our attention. But there’s also third-world countries where people don’t even have running water, so it’s a Catch 22.”

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