Wendy Williams is teaming up with a new charity.
One week after she announced that she was dissolving The Hunter Foundation, the 5-year-old nonprofit she had founded with her now-estranged husband Kevin Hunter to assist addicts, Williams shared that her latest venture will benefit a charitable organization providing backpacks for children in New York City homeless shelters.
Williams, 54, was accompanied by her son, Kevin Hunter Jr., on Wednesday in Chicago, where she appeared at the Sweets and Snacks Expo and announced that she was partnering with SNAX-Sational Brands on the backpack initiative. Proceeds from sales of the brand’s products, which include Candy Pop, Cookie Pop and Pasta Chips, will benefit Operation Backpack, which collects and distributes 20,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to New York City kids in homeless and domestic violence shelters.
“There are thousands and thousands of children at these shelters, and they are in need,” Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times. “A backpack is something that’s so simple and yet so essential for them to be able to carry their things, to tuck it up and be ready.”
She told the newspaper that her giving spirit comes by example. “I grew up in a family — my mother and father are still alive, thank God — where we were taught to give back, through the Candy Stripers or Girl Scouts, or by being Santa’s elves. So it comes very natural to me, and it’s very important to me,” she said.
Williams’ appearance at the trade show was her first public outing since the debut of the 11th season of The Wendy Williams Show.
The star seemed upbeat during the trade show. “She was honestly so lovely, so happy and in great spirits,” said an onlooker. Kevin Hunter Jr., who stayed close-by, was seen smiling for photos and immersed in his phone.
The TV star’s previous charity, The Hunter Foundation, worked to aid people as they transitioned from addiction to recovery, supplying resources for drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs. Kevin Hunter told PEOPLE that he would launch a new foundation that will focus on the same issues.
Her partnership with SNAX-Sational Brands comes amid a difficult time for the television host.
On Tuesday, Kevin Hunter Jr. and his father allegedly got into a physical altercation, which resulted in the teenager’s arrest. Kevin Hunter Jr. was charged with simple assault following an altercation in West Orange, according to a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey. He was processed and released by West Orange Police Department the same evening and was not taken to county jail.
Reps for Williams and Hunter did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Williams filed for divorce from Hunter in April. Their separation came amid the news that he had allegedly fathered a child with his mistress. Hunter broke his silence on the split in a statement to PEOPLE, addressing the cheating scandal and admitting he was “not proud of my recent actions.”
According to a source, they’ve “had zero contact” since then, and Williams “has nothing to say to him.”