*Because of her immense talent and confident attitude, it’s easy to dismiss any thoughts of actress Viola Davis growing up poor and hungry.
Well, this past Friday (10-10-14), Davis, 49, bared her soul about her struggles with poverty early in life at Variety’s Power of Women event.
“Although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty,” she explained to the audience in tears. “I was one of the 17 million kids in this country who didn’t know where the next meal was coming from, and I did everything to get food. I have stolen for food. I have jumped in huge garbage bins with maggots for food. I have befriended people in the neighborhood, who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day for food, and I sacrificed a childhood for food and grew up in immense shame.”
Because of her past, Davis is down with the “Hunger Is” campaign, which is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help hungry children and their families.
“I didn’t decide to join the Hunger Is campaign to save the world. I didn’t. I set out to save myself,” Davis said in her emotional speech. “It has been the joy of my life to be able to start this campaign and know that that little girl with the ponytail [referring to herself as a child] and all the children like her — 17 million, 21 million families in this country that have to be in food assistance programs — that all of that can be eradicated. They can go about their business of being who they are and not sit in front of an SAT like I did, falling asleep because I was hungry. And not befriending people just because they know their mother makes banana bread after school. And jumping in trash bins. No one’s childhood should be spent like that.”
Also involved with the program which is targeted for the poor here in the States is Jennifer Lopez. She spoke about her humble beginnings growing up in the Bronx where she shared a bed with her two sisters as a child.
With her Lopez Family Foundation, the actress/singer/dancer is looking to help mothers of lesser means take care of their families.
“There were those who didn’t have the access, the resources or the education to get the right care for themselves and their children,” she said. “I’ve been a mother for six years and there isn’t a single moment of the day that doesn’t go by where I don’t worry and every mom knows this feeling.”
(Viola & JLo Show Support for Hunger & Poverty Programs)