It's giving back, the "American Idol" way.

For the next week, former American Idol's are volunteering at food banks across the country, including in Seattle.

Wednesday night, 6th season runner-up Blake Lewis put on a hairnet and gloves and helped sort food and beans at Food Lifeline.

"I'm here to help out in my community," Lewis said "When a little kid sees me doing this, maybe it will inspire them to do the same thing."

Lewis grew up in Bothell, and knows people recognize him around here, maybe more than anywhere else.

He says other people should want to stand out too, by getting involved and helping other families in need.

"Its important to everyone to be helpful in their community," Lewis said, "to get everyone unified for something bigger than themselves and doing something selfless."

The next week of volunteering leads up to the big "Idol Gives Back" television event next Wednesday.

Since "American Idol" first did a charity show, the event has raised more than $140 million for charities around the world.

The two-hour show airs on Q13 next Wednesday, April 21 at 8 p.m.

According to the "Idol Gives Back" website, beneficiaries for this year's event include Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children's U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.

This year's special will feature performances and appearances by some of Hollywood's biggest stars as well as a few surprises.

In previous years, Idol Gives Back has welcomed President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former President George W. Bush, Brad Pitt, Bono, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Annie Lennox, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Pink, Celine Dion, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller and others.

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