Nicole Richie & Joel Madden Celebrate Opening of New Playground

From left: Joel Madden, Nicole Richie, Benji Madden and Education Director Pamela Huntoonto

Jeff Vespa/WireImage

updated 02/09/2010 AT 5:00 PM ET

originally published 02/09/2010 AT 6:05 PM ET

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s daughter Harlow had to take her very first rain check on Tuesday in Los Angeles. With hail and rainstorms sweeping over the city, the 2-year-old couldn’t play at the new playground her parents raised funds to build at downtown L.A.’s low income housing, Beyond Shelter.

“One raindrop, and she’d melt,” joked her playful dad.

Despite the uncharacteristically bad weather, the opening was a meaningful accomplishment for Richie and Madden, who pledged to raise $35,000 to build the playground in September 2008 through the Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation.

“When we first started coming here, there were no kids outside,” says Richie. “To see the place come to life and have a place to come outside and be kids, and have their imaginations run wild, it’s really awesome.”

Along with Benji Madden, the couple announced a partnership with 7-11’s Coffee Cup with a Cause, in which they’ll donate proceeds from coffee cups designed by Richie to the Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation between now and March 15, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000.

“We’re humbled to be a part of it,” says Joel. “Today is a big day for our family.”

Back at the Richie-Madden household, each day is a big day. “Harlow is happy to be a big sister and every day is something new,” he says. “Sparrow is a little dude now. He’s laughing, picking things up, and trying to talk.”

What’s more, quipped Richie, “Benji just started talking!”


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