Award-winning actress Viola Davis has many stage, television and screen credits to her name, and she’s using that star power to help end childhood hunger. She knows what she’s talking about, because she’s been there.
Davis appeared on “Good Morning America” on Thursday to talk about her involvement in the fight against childhood hunger in America.
Earlier this year Davis joined forces with The Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to launch the Hunger Is campaign. The campaign has raised $4.5 million to support efforts to raise awareness and funds.
In public service announcement released for the launch of the campaign, Davis said one in five children goes to school hungry every day.
It’s a topic that hits close to home for Davis. Now an Academy Award-nominated actress for her roles in “Doubt” and “The Help,” Davis didn’t have enough food when she was growing up in abject poverty in Rhode Island.
In a speech at the “Hunger Is” gala, Davis shared her story:
“I spent the majority of my childhood being raised in condemned buildings infested with rats,” she said. “I was a child who went to bed hungry every single night. What it motivated me to do — a child who had an enormous amount of intelligence and integrity and imagination — it encouraged me to steal food, it encouraged me to jump in dumpsters infested with maggots for food. It encouraged me to even befriend people who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day. It encouraged me to befriend them so I could go over to their house and have a meal.”
Her experience motivated her to help other children in similar circumstances.
Funds raised through the campaign will support programs focused on eradicating childhood hunger and improving health-related and education outcomes, with an emphasis on breakfast programs during the first year of the campaign, according to a statement from Hunger Is.