On June 10th, I attended a media event to learn more about the Hunger Is Organization. According to their mission statement, the goal is to eradicate childhood hunger in America & to improve health-related outcomes for hungry children & their families. Two foundations, the Safeway Foundation & the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) have partnered together to do just that.
Denise Albert & Melissa Musen Gerstein of The Moms hosted the event, along with special guest Viola Davis. I am a big, big fan of Viola Davis! I loved her in Doubt, her guest roles on Law & Order, State of Play & as Julia Robert’s BFF in Eat Pray Love. She also happens to be a San Fernando Valley resident & a mom of a young daughter – so I feel like I can relate to her & she is a “friend in my head” as Wendy Williams would say.
Like the title of my blog post indicates, Viola Davis knows from personal experience what it is like to be hungry as a child. She grew up in abject poverty as a child in Rhode Island. Not having food & living in a condemned building shaped her experience, helped her become the strong person that she is right now & made her want to be an ambassador for this campaign.
Viola also shared with us that due to being hungry & having no energy during school hours, that she fell asleep during tests, even the SATs. Here is a short clip of Viola talking about hunger in America from a child’s perspective.
We all know that this is a solvable problem. If you invest in kids, you are investing in their potential & thereby investing in the future of America. We can make a difference for the 17 million kids who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If you have the means to invest, then do something.
At lunchtime today, I attended a tasting event at a local SFV eatery. Members of the blogging community attended, as well as some media & community organizers. One of the attendees had to eat & run to another event. Having only taken half-bites of each entrée, he decided to leave the rest of the food on the table. (NOTE: I’m not passing judgment or “shade” if you will, as this is somewhat common at food events. I’m merely making an observation.) The PR rep for the event remarked, we should take the food & give it to someone who is homeless in the area. It was during the drive home that I thought, how fortunate am I to be in the position to take half of my entrees home in a take-away container AND how blessed are we as a society that we can eat just half our meal & walk away from it, without worry.
One of Viola’s favorite quotes is “You do what is at your hand to do” – so even if it’s not a monetary donation, if you can donate cans of food or volunteer at a food bank – these are all great ways of helping. Viola talked about a teacher’s generosity that helped her during a time of need. Here’s a small clip: http://instagram.com/p/pEutH-CFBR/?modal=true.
I’m sure most of those reading my blog post can offer up some small way to help this organization. Check out their website & see what you can do!
On a personal note, during the Q&A portion of the media event, I had the opportunity to ask Viola a question on motherhood.
Real Mom of SFV: You’re a mother of a daughter, just like I am & there is a quote in The Help (that I’ll paraphrase) which I tell my daughter all of the time, which is “You are kind, you are smart & you are important.” So I was wondering if there is any advice that you give to your daughter that you are willing to share.
Viola: There is something that I am telling my daughter lately because she is into the whole Elsa & Anna thing (Disney’s Frozen). So I say to her “What about Princess Tiana?” She’s like “I like Princess Tiana, but I like Elsa. She has long blond hair”….and so I always tell her, “Genesis, what did Mommy tell you? What is the most beautiful part of you?” And my daughter replies “My heart.” So that is what I tell her…that her value has NOTHING to do with what she looks like, absolutely nothing, at the end of the day.
If you’d like to get involved with your heart, much like Viola does for this organization, check out the Hunger Is website & also follow them on social media.
Thanks to The Moms, the Safeway Foundation & the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) for putting on a great, informative #HungerIsMamarazzi event!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media event. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. All photos, videos, thoughts & opinions are 100% mine.