Viola: I searched bins to find food

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Actress Viola Davis has told Hollywood luminaries that her drive to end childhood hunger is fuelled by memories of growing up in “abject poverty”, stealing and crawling through maggot-filled rubbish bins to find food.

“I sacrificed a childhood for food,” she said, “and grew up in immense shame.”

The actress, who won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in the 2011 film The Help, shared her personal story as she accepted accolades at the Variety Power of Women luncheon in Beverly Hills, where Jane Fonda, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez were also recognised for humanitarian efforts.

Davis said her work with the Hunger Is campaign to raise awareness about the problem in the United States had been “the joy of my life”.

She thanked her colleagues and supporters for the chance to “stand up in front of so many people, at the age of 49, and share my testimony and begin the process of healing”.

Witherspoon was recognised for her involvement with the Malala Fund, the educational advocacy organisation established by Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.

Witherspoon said she was inspired by her daughter Ava to explore the state of girls’ education around the world and learn about Malala’s efforts.

Lopez said her namesake foundation was also inspired by her children. She said she and her sister Lynda started the Lopez Family Foundation when they were pregnant together in the hope of helping needy families receive high-quality health care.

Fonda is involved with various philanthropic programmes, but she was honoured for creating the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, which works to prevent teenage pregnancy and inspire healthy lifestyles in the state.

“I grew up believing that service is the rent you pay for life,” she said.

Others recognised included Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley, who works with Vital Voices, an international campaign that supports women community leaders, and Jessica Matthews, creator of the Soccket, a football that harnesses energy with play and becomes an off-grid power source.

Guests at the Lifetime-sponsored lunch at the Beverly Hilton Hotel included Ryan Seacrest, Maria Bello, Allison Janney and Wild author Cheryl Strayed.

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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