Parks and Recreation Reunion Special Raised Nearly $3 Million for Charity

A Parks and Recreation Reunion Special, a remotely filmed special episode that reunited the stars of the fan-favorite NBC comedy five years after its series finale for a one-off return to Pawnee, Indiana, raised $2.8 million for Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund. The virtual reunion catching up with various past and present Pawnee residents in coronavirus quarantine reunited series stars Amy Poehler (Leslie Knope), Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), Chris Pratt (Andy), Aubrey Plaza (April), Rashida Jones (Ann), Aziz Ansari (Tom), Adam Scott (Ben), Rob Lowe (Chris), Retta (Donna), and Jim O'Heir (Jerry) with appearances from Paul Rudd, Jon Glaser, Mo Collins, Jay Jackson and Ben Schwartz.

Feeding America's COVID-19 Response Fund enables food banks across the U.S. to serve individuals facing hunger during the pandemic, with donations related to the Parks and Rec special remaining open through May 21. Partners State Farm, Subaru of America, NBCUniversal and the Parks and Recreation team of writers, producers, and cast will match donations up to $500,000.

"I really honestly didn't ever think it was going to happen," series co-creator and Reunion Special co-writer Mike Schur told Entertainment Weekly. "Even as the reboot craze and the reunion craze struck and those things were floating around in the ether, I still was like, 'I don't think so. I don't see why.' Amy and I and the whole crew had the same feeling, which was: That show had a very specific point to make and we felt like we made the point and then we ended the show and we moved on. I always felt like if there wasn't a really compelling reason, there'd be no point in just getting back together just to get back together — as fun as it wasn't as much as we all loved each other."

But in light of the coronavirus crisis, Schur opted to drop plans for a virtual script reading of a past episode and reunite the stars to better fundraise for charity.

"Because now you're thinking with a different calculator and you're thinking to yourself, 'Well, there are a tremendous number of people who need help, and there's a tremendous amount of potential energy in the idea of this group of people getting back together. And if you could combine those two things and use the 'one-time reunion' as a way to be noisy and to try to get people happy for half an hour and maybe to throw 25 bucks at a website — that's something worth doing. If we could pull it off, it would be worth it,'" Schur explained. "So the joy of making this project and this little special is that I had this whole argument of why we should do it prepared, and I never had to make the argument because the second that I suggested it to everybody, they all said yes! [Laughs] So it came together very quickly."

A Parks and Recreation Reunion Special is available to stream on the NBC app, Hulu and YouTube.