Thir­teen mil­lion kids in the U.S. face hunger ev­ery day. The ac­tor was one of them. Now she’s on a mis­sion to make changes.

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TV star Leighton Meester works to end hunger IRL

For me, it’s per­sonal

“Grow­ing up, there were many times when I didn’t know if we were go­ing to be able to af­ford to eat. We re­lied on lunch pro­grams and food stamps. To­day one in eight Amer­i­cans faces hunger or food in­se­cu­rity. Most of us don’t re­al­ize that peo­ple can be hard­work­ing and still strug­gle to put food on the ta­ble. And when chil­dren go to school hun­gry, they’re not go­ing to learn as well. That’s why I’m so happy to be work­ing with Feed­ing Amer­ica. I’ve served meals with them to kids at the Para Los Niños char­ter school in Los An­ge­les and to women at the Down­town Women’s Cen­ter. It has truly en­riched my life.”

Start with the good stuff

“Feed­ing Amer­ica puts an em­pha­sis on healthy food. At Para Los Niños, we put to­gether a farm­ers mar­ket for the kids to bring home fruits and veg­eta­bles. The amaz­ing thing to me is that they re­ally love healthy food. Chil­dren are very open to try­ing new fla­vors.”

From pas­sion to pur­pose

“I’m so lucky to have the plat­form to bring aware­ness to this. When you’re pas­sion­ate about a cause, it’s even more ful­fill­ing. Find out where you can do­nate or vol­un­teer your time. We all need to be there for one an­other.”

NEXT ACT Meester, 32, stars on the new show Sin­gle Par­ents, which pre­mieres Septem­ber 26 on ABC.

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