Oscar nominee Viola Davis was recently honored at Variety’s 2014 Power of Women Luncheon for her work with the Hunger Is campaign. During the event, the 49-year-old delivered an emotional speech where she discussed her heartbreaking childhood in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
“I didn’t join the Hunger Is campaign to save the world. I set out to save myself. You know, they say that you’re never too old to have a happy childhood. And although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty. 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,” she shared.
The “How To Get Away With Murder” actress went on to reveal that things were so bad, she sometimes went through trash receptacles to locate her next meal.
“I’ve done 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.”
Viola went on to shed light on how common food-poor households are in America and expressed that her goal is to eradicate childhood hunger.
“I always say that the little girl who is hungry is always with me,” she said in Variety’s cover story. “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.”