10 actors committed to ending world hunger

Find out which Hollywood actors, past and present, are engaged in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition. We’ve chosen 10.

Paul Newman

In 1982, the late Paul Newman, together with writer Aaron Edward Hotchner, founded Newman’s Own, a food company that donates 100 per cent of its net profits to the foundation of the same name, which in turn distributes it to organizations and associations involved in environmental and social causes. This was the wish of the actor who died in 2008, and whose philosophy was, “Let’s give it all away to those who need it”. After just one year in operation, the company generated approximately 300,000 US dollars in sales. To date, more than thirty years on, a total of 400 million dollars have been donated.

julia roberts
Julia Roberts as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

Julia Roberts

One of the first charity missions made by one of Hollywood’s leading ladies took place in 1995. Roberts went to Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to see, at first-hand, the work of the United Nations children’s organization that is committed to delivering aid in the form of food, clean drinking water, education and healthcare. More recently she voiced Mother Nature as part of a campaign for Conservation International, the environmental organization dedicated to the protection of nature and biodiversity.

Matt Damon

Winner of an Academy Award, together with Ben Affleck, for Best Original Screenplay in 1998 for ‘Good Will Hunting’ and twice nominated for Best Actor, in 2010 Damon became spokesman for Feeding America, an American organization whose US-wide network of food banks distributes food to the people who need it the most.

L'attrice americana Angelina Jolie ha chiesto nuovamente al mondo di agire per migliorare le condizioni di vita dei rifugiati siriani ©KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Angelina Jolie visiting a refugee camp in Syria © KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images

Angelina Jolie

After ten years of service as Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in April 2012, Angelina Jolie was appointed Special Envoy. In her work with UNHCR, Jolie has focused her attention on the problems of those forced to abandon their homes and their countries, and who often have no access to food. Over the years, the American actress has visited over 40 refugee camps. In 2014, she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a special category at the Academy Awards, dedicated to actors who have been recognized “for outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes”.

Bill Pullman

In 2012, Bill Pullman featured in The Fruit Hunters, a documentary by Yung Chang. An ode to biodiversity, the film tells of people who are dedicating time and energy to search for rare and lost exotic fruits, and forgotten species that today might offer a satisfactory response to the challenges to food production posed by climate change, as well as new options to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. Pullman’s long-time passion for the land and his desire to cultivate fruit was revealed to the general public by his taking part in this film.

Susan Sarandon

Nominated six times for an Academy Award, and winner in 1996 for Best Actress for her role in ‘Dead Man Walking’, in 2010, Susan Sarandon became a Goodwill Ambassador in the fight against hunger for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), along with singer Celine Dion, and Italian actor Raoul Bova.

Raoul Bova

One of few Italians chosen to be a Goodwill Ambassador against hunger for the FAO, Raoul Bova has promoted the Run for Food marathon that is held annually on World Food Day in Rome, where the FAO has its headquarters. Funds raised by the marathon are used to fund the FAO’s TeleFood initiative, which finances projects supporting small-scale farmers around the world.

Drew Barrymore at United Nations headquarters in New York City © Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
Drew Barrymore at United Nations headquarters in New York City © Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Drew Barrymore 

WFP Ambassador Against Hunger since 2007 after seeing with her own eyes the positive effects that the UN agency has on helping feed children in Kenya. A year later Drew Barrymore donated one million US dollars to the campaign and has continued to carry out her Ambassador role ever since, meeting government and civil society representatives, as well as business leaders to talk about the importance of funding school-based food programs.

Sean Connery

As well as winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1988 for his performance in ‘The Untouchables’, this legendary Scots actor was, in 2003, the first to sign up to WFP’s mission: eliminating world hunger. He has been the face of several campaigns to show how, and where, WFP is active in delivering food to those who need it.

Halle Berry

The winner of the Best Actress Academy Award in 2002 for ‘Monster’s Ball’, Berry took part in the 2013 edition of American fashion designer Michael Kors’ Watch Hunger Stop campaign, which is run in partnership with the UN’s WFP School Meals Program. She travelled to Jinotega, Nicaragua in July 2014, to visit two schools that have benefited from the program.

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