Viola Davis recently shared what she had to do as a child just to get food, which includes stealing and crawling through maggot-filled garbage bins.
Along with "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and Jane Fonda, the "How To Get Away With Murder" star was one of the actresses recognized by Variety Power of Women for commendable humanitarian efforts, Fay Observer reported.
Through a Lifetime-sponsored luncheon, the recognition ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with guests including "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, "Wild" author Cheryl Strayed, Allison Janney and Maria Bello, Fox News reported.
Having experienced "abject poverty" herself, Davis said she is driven to end childhood hunger by working with the Hunger Is campaign, which aims to raise awareness about hunger in the United States.
She considers her humanitarian effort the joy of her life.
Although she "sacrificed a childhood for food and grew up in immense shame," the 49-year-old actress is grateful she was given the opportunity to share her testimony before many people to and begin the healing process.
Like Davis, Lopez, Witherspoon and Jane Fonda also shared what inspired them to pursue their charitable works.
Inspired by her children, Lopez launched the Lopez Family Foundation with her sister, Lynda, when they were pregnant together with an aim to help underprivileged families have high-quality health care.
Also inspired by daughter, Witherspoon decided to get involved with the educational advocacy organization, Malala Fund launched by the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan.
Fonda also shared said she grew up thinking that "service is the rent you pay for life."
While she has done various charitable works, it was Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential she launched to prevent teen pregnancy prevention and campaign for healthy lifestyles that earned her Variety Power of Women recognition.