Viola Davis gave a heartbreaking speech about her childhood struggles and extreme poverty during Variety‘s Power of Women event in Los Angeles, California, on Friday.
“Although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty,” the How to Get Away With Murder actress, overcome with emotion, revealed, according to Us Weekly. “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.”
However, Davis is now working to prevent those same experiences happening to other children, and she is actively working with the Hunger Is campaign to raise awareness and money to help hungry children and their families in the United States.
“I didn’t decide to join the Hunger Is campaign to save the world. I didn’t. I set out to save myself,” Davis revealed. “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 million families in this country that have to be in food assistance programs — that all of that can be eradicated.”
The Help actress continued, “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.”
Davis is just one of the many great women who are working toward eradicating poverty and helping take care of those less fortunate than themselves. Other speakers at the event included Reese Witherspoon, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez. We applaud these women for their humanitarian efforts!