Viola Davis knows what it’s like to grow up hungry -- and she’s on a mission to not let any more children in the United States experience that pain and suffering. That’s why, ET has exclusively learned, the Oscar and Emmy-winning actress is once again joining forces with the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) to continue the Hunger Is “Hungry for More” campaign.
“It’s incredibly important for me to be working in partnership with the Hunger Is initiative to ensure that children around the country are growing up with enough to eat," Davis tells ET of her ongoing mission to eradicate childhood hunger in the U.S. "We must bring attention to this critical issue in order to inspire action so that kids can access the tools they need to succeed. This year, we’re adding a new element to our program that is going to make an even larger impact on our communities."
With the two organizations, Davis plans to provide five million breakfasts to children in need, matching an achievement of last year’s Hunger Is campaign. The “Hunger for More” campaign will run through Oct. 15 in participating Albertsons Companies throughout the country, providing people the opportunity to contribute to hunger relief efforts in their communities.
In January, Davis opened up to ET about her own struggles with hunger, growing up in abject poverty in Rhode Island.
“Whenever I did have a good meal, I realized the impact of what that meal did for me. It made me come to life. It made me feel alive. It made me feel like a need was being fulfilled,” she said. “Hunger isn't one of those needs that you can kind of forget about and put into the recesses of your mind. Everything was about fulfilling that need and when it was filled, it just felt like I could get back to my life.”
Through the joint initiative Hunger Is, the Albertsons Companies Foundation and EIF announced in January that it was awarding over $4.6 million in grants to 110 hunger relief charities. Davis, who serves as ambassador, was overjoyed by this commitment.
“I'm so happy to help raise attention and start conversations about the critical issue of childhood hunger in America,” Davis said at the time, adding that “awareness of the issue should be bigger than the shame.”
“At the end of the day, we're all in this together, in this life together. I think that when you share your story with people who have empathy, I don't think shame can exist. I think that there are enough people out there who have the same stories as you that are not going to pass judgment on you. It is more important to affect change,” she continued.
Over the last three years, Hunger Is has raised more than $18 million and awarded over 270 grants to support local hunger programs in 33 states plus the District of Columbia. More than 6.4 million breakfasts have been served to families in need.
MORE: Viola Davis Gives Moving Speech on Growing Up Hungry
And for those in need or who look up to Davis for advice, she previously told ET to “dream big.”
“Dreaming is like going to the gym for me. It's what I did every day,” she explained. “Every day I tackled something. Every day, even when I had obstacles in front of me, even if it was something I could do that made me just a step closer to my dreams, I did it. It's like exercising a muscle.”
To donate or to learn more about Hunger Is, visit www.HungerIs.org.