How Growing Up on Food Stamps Led Leighton Meester to Help Hungry Kids

Tens of millions of American children rest on giveaway or subsidized propagandize lunches to stay healthy and nourished any day. Growing up, Leighton Meester was one of them.

“We unequivocally gifted food insecurity,” she tells PEOPLE. “We relied on food stamps, welfare. A lot of a time in a checkout line during a grocery store we had to put things back. As a mom now, we can’t assistance though remember that time, and consider about families that onslaught — it’s such a fun to feed your family and suffer a dish together, and to not be secure adequate to do that bland is such a outrageous hardship.”

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Now, Meester, 32, is doing something about it. The Single Parents actress, who’s prolonged been a Feeding America ambassador, is teaming with a organization, and Subway and Shamrock Farms, for National Milk Day on Friday, Jan. 11. For any Subway Fresh Fit for Kids dish purchased with a Shamrock Farms divert that day, a companies will present $1 to Feeding America.

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“It’s unequivocally extraordinary since $1 can yield adult to 10 dishes by Feeding America,” Meester says. “A lot of times we consider of donating food as a estimable approach of assisting out, and it is, though $1 can yield so many more.”

On tip of that, Meester says that divert is one of a top-requested equipment during food banks, “so it only goes to uncover that divert for your family for recipes, for children to drink, is so needed. It’s a good approach to make certain your child is removing adequate calories and vitamins, and fill adult their small bellies.”

One swell Meester is focused on stuffing is that of her daughter Arlo, who during 3 doesn’t utterly know Mom’s proffer work, though hopefully someday will. “Kids learn many by example, so for her to observe and witness, it’ll unequivocally make her aware,” Meester says. “I consider that’s a best we can do. And we consider that volunteering, quite with Feeding America, is such a delightful approach of giving back, so it’d be smashing to have that be a partial of her life, if she wants to do it.”

Meester — who married associate actor Adam Brody in 2014 — says her proffer work is “so gratifying” since she gets to correlate with people who “come from a same walks of life that we do,” she shares. “I get to be face-to-face with people, assisting to offer dishes in Downtown Los Angeles and unequivocally speak to people.”

“What we adore about volunteering with kids, especially, is that they’re so intelligent and fun,” she continues. “And that’s a pleasing thing about childhood — [instead of focusing on a hardships] they only like to play games. But it only goes to uncover that it can truly be anybody who is inspired — a coworker, a neighbor. Somebody who we competence consider is food secure, even with a paycheck or a partner, competence not be, and that is positively a box for so many families.”

To help, revisit a participating Subway grill on Friday, Jan. 11, and revisit feedingamerica.org.

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