David Arquette: My Life Volunteering with Feeding America
I’ve always been a supporter of a variety of charities. Doing something to give back makes us real, and makes us feel good in a very powerful and incredible way. About a year ago I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves, dig in deep, and really get involved beyond events and the red carpet.
As the economy took a turn for the worse, it became clear to me that too many people in our country were going to be hurting, really hurting - tired, hungry, and scared. The number of people lacking food in this great country of ours should be zero. So, I got involved with Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org). It’s the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, feeding more than 25 million Americans a year, with more than two billion pounds of food distributed annually through their network of more than 200 food banks serving all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
This September was Hunger Action Month. As the chairman of Feeding America's Entertainment Council, I got to really experience the variety of ways that individual citizens and corporate America are coming together to help solve domestic hunger. At the beginning of the month I put on a chef’s coat and traded cheesecake for canned food donations on the sets of ABC’s Cougar Town and Scrubs to kick-off the Cheesecake Factory’s “Drive Out Hunger” campaign (check out Courteney this week on Cougar Town for an important message about volunteering tied to the www.iParticipate.org initiative).
The campaign went on to stop in a different city across the country each day of the month, collecting 321,992 cans for the network of Feeding America food banks. In mid-September, I went to New York to help launch Macy’s “Come Together” campaign which is on track to provide Feeding America with 10 million meals this fall. And to close Hunger Action Month, I helped produce the “Rock a Little, Feed a Lot” benefit concert with my friend Adam Shankman. It was a concert to not only raise funds, but awareness of the issue of domestic hunger. Once again so many people came together to lend their time and their voices–especially our friend Sheryl Crow who wrote a song for Feeding America, which she debuted that night and will soon be available for download, benefiting the charity.
Everything that I experienced during Hunger Action Month shows you that volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be fun and it ALWAYS makes you feel good, which is why I volunteer twice a week at a local food pantry in the community where I live. Touching people one-on-one is what it is truly all about.
When I hand groceries to a family and watch a child rip open the loaf of bread, it rips my heart, and I realize how much we still need to do with 1 in 6 American children being food insecure, not knowing where their next meal is coming from.
Whatever your cause, there is an opportunity for you to help. I can all but guarantee that you’re going to be glad that you did something; anything. The experience of giving back has brought me closer to God and closer to myself; my true self. Sometimes I take my daughter Coco with me. I want to share with her the importance of loving others and working for the change you seek. Having her there with me brings heightened awareness to how blessed my family is, and how we need to all do our part to help those who are down on their luck.
The Entertainment Industry Foundation's iParticipate initiative is meant to inspire Americans to serve our country through volunteering and community service. All you have to do is log onto the www.iParticipate.org website to find a volunteer opportunity in your neighborhood. You can clean up parks and beaches, assemble care packages for soldiers, read to kids in school, or help out at your local food bank. We are all in this together.
We're all part of the same family, the same community, the same world. Nothing helps nurture our world more than caring for one another, having compassion toward our neighbors and cultivating a society based on the importance of Love. I think quoting Sheryl's song sums it up best, “Love is all we need”.
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