Monday, October 13, 2014

Viola Davis On Her Poor Childhood And How She Searched Trash Bins For Food

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Viola Davis has been nominated for an Oscar, and has just landed her own prime-time TV show but her childhood was not so easy. Earlier this year, the actress partnered with Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to introduce the Hunger Is initiative to eradicate childhood hunger.

Viola Davis, who is now a mom of one herself, grew up in poverty and wishes that no one has to go through what she did as a child. That is why she is so passionate for the Hunger Is campaign.

Covering the current issue of Variety magazine, the 41 year old was recently recognized at Variety’s Power of Women event for her work with the initiative where she told her story.

“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.”

“I didn’t decide to join the Hunger Is campaign to save the world. I didn’t. I set out to save myself. It has been the joy of my life to be able to start this campaign and know that that little girl with the ponytail and all the children like her — 17 million, 21 families in this country that have to be in food assistance programs — that all 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.”

In the Variety’s cover story, Davis says,

“I just thought it was something that I experienced in my childhood. I didn’t know that one in every five children lives in a household that has food issues and doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. And they’re not all poor. A lot of them are food poor. After they pay the electric and the rent, they don’t have enough left over for food.”

“I always say that the little girl who is hungry is always with me. I feel like why not use any kind of power I have to serve. There’s a famous saying that ‘to serve is to love.’ I don’t want my tombstone to just say I was a series regular and Oscar nominee.”


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