In support of Feeding America's Hunger Action Month, which encourages everyone in America to take action fighting hunger in their community, the September issue of Woman’s Day features three individuals who have struggled with hunger and come out on the other side, now donating to those who need.
Media mogul Cathy Hughes, the founder and chairperson of Radio One, Entrepreneur Tony Robbins and Olympic Athlete Emily Scott share their success stories and why they support Feeding America.
Tony grew up in a poor home with a father who refused to accept help. One year as a child, a stranger showed up at Tony’s family’s house with an uncooked turkey in a roasting pan. “I had no idea where it came from, but I was elated,” says Tony – they had no food for Thanksgiving dinner. But his father saw it as a handout and barked “we don’t take charity” and slammed the door. The stranger stopped it with his foot and said “Someone wants you to have this. Don’t let your ego get in the way of taking care of your family.” The Robbins family accepted the turkey and had a feast.
“That experience taught me the power of a stranger’s concern, and it set up a ripple effect…as my career grew, so did my ability to provide.” Tony now donates 20 meals for each person who attends one of his speaking events. His upbringing inspired him to help others and support Feeding America.
While training for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the short track speed skater’s living stipend was cut down so drastically that she had to take on a $14/hour job, in addition to her daily training. “I felt embarrassed to ask for help, and defeated. I didn’t know how I’d be able to compete,” says Emily.
USA Today ran a story on her predicament and people began donating money so she could focus solely on training and not have to worry about going hungry.
This is why Emily supports Feeding America. “As an athlete, I benefitted from the generosity of strangers. I think everyone deserves help when they need it.”
As a child, Cathy lived in the projects in a poor home. At age 14 she lied about her age to get a job and contribute to her family’s income. She then got pregnant at age 16 and moved to Washington, D.C. with her soon-to-be husband. She put herself through college and took a manager job at a radio station. She and her husband bought their own station – Washington, D.C.’s first black-perspective talk radio station.
Three years later, they split and Cathy lost the house, leaving her once again strapped for money. She had to sleep in the radio station floor and cook soup on a hot plate.
Now a successful media mogul, Cathy donates food to homeless shelters and to seniors who often have to choose between food and medicine.