Kate Hudson on being a World Food Programme ambassador

by 24USATVNov. 22, 2020, 7 p.m. 14
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If you think that feeding hungry people is hard work, try doing it in a war zone. Somewhere in the world, every minute of the day, the people at the U.N. World Food Programme are trying to keep millions from starving to death.

Out there, it's a brutally simple equation: conflict equals hunger, and hunger equals more conflict. And that's without a worldwide pandemic.

"This virus, it hurts the poor people more than anybody else," said WFP executive director David Beasley.

When Beasley took charge three years ago, he said he had 100 million hungry people to feed.

"But now we're talking about 135 million to 270 million people," he said. "I'm not talking about going to bed hungry; I'm talking about people literally marching towards starvation. That's why we gotta get ahead of this thing and do it right."

And "doing it right" starts with getting people's attention.

Two years ago, actress-entrepreneur Kate Hudson was appointed a World Food Programme ambassador, visiting places like Cambodia to raise awareness and to actually help hungry people feed themselves.

Smith asked, "What made you become so passionate about it? What got to you?"

"Oh, it's endless," Hudson replied. "When you start to get involved with it, it's just like, you know, it's one of those things. You're just hooked. It's not like, 'Oh, I hope we find a cure.' There is a cure. The cure is the food – we have it. It's there. It's available. So, it's really about how we get there, you know?"

And you might say charity runs in her blood. Her mother, Goldie Hawn, founded her own non-profit to help children. But Hudson's fight against hunger took on a new meaning when she became a mother herself, and met a struggling mom in Cambodia.

"There was a mother that was one of the mothers of a child in the school, and she had just had a baby," Hudson said. "And you know, I said, 'How are you feeling?' you know, and she was like, 'Ughhh.' And you realize that as mothers, the first thing that we do with our babies is, we would do anything to feed them. And when that goes wrong, I mean, you can't explain it if you don't know what that feels like, if you can't give your baby milk, if you're not producing.

"It's the fundamental fear, if we cannot feed our children."

It's hard to say exactly when Kate Hudson became a household name: it might've been after her Oscar-nominated turn as Penny Lane in 2000's "Almost Famous." But she says she always knew she'd do some good in the world, and that being really famous could help.

"What do you hope you personally can do by joining forces?" asked Smith.

"I try to be very real about these things," Hudson replied. "You know, I have one thing that I think have – well, I have a couple things. It's my personal heart and drive, that's one thing. But I have a platform. You know, I've got millions of people that follow me on my Instagram. And I can have this opportunity to talk with you about it. And so, I hope that what this can do is bring so much awareness, and that I can be a part of that in any way."

By all accounts it's been a brutal year for the WFP.

But there have been a few bright spots. They managed to launch the largest humanitarian response in their history, and last month the staff was stunned – really stunned – to find out they'd been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Smith asked David Beasley, "Tell me about that moment when you found out."

"I was out in the middle of Niger. And somebody just comes busting into our meeting, said, 'Nobel Peace Prize! Nobel Peace Prize!' And I'm like, "Well, yeah, wow, who won it?' And they're like, 'We did!' That was the greatest surprise in my life. And wow, wow, wow!"

Of course, awards don't feed hungry people, and celebrities don't solve world problems by themselves. But they can convince people to open their hearts – and their pocketbooks.

To Kate Hudson, that's the role of a lifetime.

Smith asked, "Is there any comparison between the satisfaction of playing a great role, doing a great movie, and the satisfaction that you get out of helping out with WFP?"

"No," Hudson replied. "It's a totally different feeling when someone feels connected or happy based on something that you played, than when you realize that you're helping someone just live.

"You know, when you see someone suffering of something that is as simple as a little bit of food, it's just, you know, you can help that. There's no greater kind of contribution, I think, than being able to at least try to help as many people as you can."
• How to donate to the World Food Programme

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