Viola Davis Opens Up About Growing Up in Poverty

The actress is spearheading a Hunger Is campaign to combat childhood hunger.

Posted: 04/28/2014 09:48 AM EDT
Viola Davis

Viola Davis has the honor of being an award-winning actress both on the theater stage and the big screen, but her childhood was much darker than that limelight she lives in now. In the latest issue of People magazine, Davis opened up about growing up in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in poverty and struggling to find enough food to eat.

"I was one of those kids who grew up hungry. I'm 48 years old now, and it's only been recently that I can admit that I would jump in trash bins looking for food and I would steal from the corner store because I was hungry," she said. "I would fall asleep in school on a daily basis because we had nothing."

Beating hunger wasn't her family's only concern as they also lived in a condemned building that was "boarded up and infested with rats."

Thankfully, Davis was to be the first in her family to attend college and credits local food programs like Hunger Is for helping her climb out of that situation. Now, she's partnering up with the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation for a Hunger Is campaign that sheds a spotlight on hunger in America.

"We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America," Davis said. "And unless your belly is distended we don't have an image of what hunger looks like here."

To learn more about the campaign and learn how you can help fight childhood hunger, visit hungeris.org.


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