giving back

Danielle Smith Fights Against Child Hunger

giving backmoms making a difference

There are so many humanitarian causes that you could get wrapped up in if you really thought about it. Thinking about small kids dieing painfully from pneumonia in Africa, for instance, can get your heart going. So can pondering what life must be like for kids growing up without parents or even a semi-normal life in Romania, or someone in America with low income who's being treated for cancer. It's hard to pick just one cause, and it's sometimes harder still to think about actually making a difference for the people affected by the cause you've chosen. But if you could see the receiving, if you could be there when one troubled child smiles as he realizes that someone else cares, or hear the relieved sigh of a cancer patient who's just discovered she'll be able to pay her rent this month and still get her treatments, you would be addicted to helping.

I worked as a fundraiser and administrator in the nonprofit sector for 10 years, and can testify that every little gift, every little effort truly does make a difference. Now, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and my giving to the world takes different forms, as it does for Danielle Smith. Danielle is a blogger and a mom whose chosen cause is hunger. It is the thought of children not having enough food to eat that gets her going. And go she does, doing lemonade stands with her kids, as a spokesperson for P&G's Everyday Resolutions campaign, and an interviewer at the American Country Music Awards talking about the power of music to give hope and make change, all of which she chronicles at

I had the chance to speak with her recently about these experiences, and here's what she said:

Me: "How did you get the opportunity to interview on the red carpet at the ACM awards and have it tie in with child hunger?"

Danielle: "I have had the pleasure of working with Con Agra and the Con Agra Foods Foundation on their Child Hunger Ends Here campaign for almost three years now. For this particular phase of the campaign, we were touching people through music. Instead of reiterating statistics like 'more than 1 in 5 children right here in the U.S. is hungry,' we launched 'Here's Hope,' a song co-written by Hunter Hayes, recorded by artists Jewel, Owl City, and Jay Sean, and first heard at the ACM awards. I was on the Red Carpet interviewing Country music artists about the power of music and how the message of 'hope' can resonate in a song. To be on the Red Carpet was a 'pinch-me' moment for me, but to do it for something that matters this much was pure joy."

Me: "It has been my experience in talking with other Moms Making a Difference that women who incorporate their own talents and gifts into their service are the ones who are the most effective. What talents/gifts/traits do you bring to the fight against hunger?"

Danielle: "I would like to think that I have a few things in my corner: I'm a passionate mom. As a mom, I can't imagine allowing someone else's child to suffer. Being an advocate for children feels somewhat universal. It is important to me that I raise my children to be good citizens of the world, but they need to see me doing it, not simply hear what I *think* they should do. And, I'm very big on 'show and tell'; this is where my love of video comes in. I think video is powerful. Every time I have worked on Child Hunger Ends Here, I have created videos—whether it is doing a lemonade stand with my kids, working at the Food Bank in Los Angeles, or interviewing on the Red Carpet—I love being able to SHOW people why Child Hunger matters, and WHY there is hope."

Me: "What tips would you give other moms who are trying to incorporate service into their busy lives?"

Danielle: "The best advice I can give is to do what you can, what feels right for you and your family: sponsor someone in a walk to fight leukemia, donate items you no longer use to charity once a season, dedicate an hour once a month to read to children at the library, make blankets for kid's at your local children's hospital, ask your kids how they would like to help. It doesn't have to be hours or hundreds of dollars—it simply has to matter to you."


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