Before Leo Stallworth was a news broadcaster for ABC7, sharing stories across Southern California, he spent his early childhood in Los Angeles with his mom and sister. “We were poor and often did not have enough to eat,” he says. “I remember times as a child when I would lay down scrunched into a ball holding my stomach, which hurt because I was just so hungry.”
He shares that experiencing hunger is profoundly traumatic, especially for a child. “I bear witness that the pain of hunger never leaves you and am committed to doing whatever I can to ensure that my neighbors have food on their tables. That’s why I am honored to share my story and to ask you to join me in supporting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank with a tax-deductible donation of whatever you can afford this holiday season.”
As a teenager, his family left LA and moved into a single room without a fridge or an oven in a small town in Texas. He recalls that they had no way to store food for more than a day or two and often went hungry. His mom tried hard to take care of their family as best she could and went to food banks, although she never discussed it at home. “There is often shame and stigma in asking for help, even when you really need it.”
Leo shares that he played football in high school and he can’t count how many times he went to practice hungry. “I would tell the coach that my dizzy spells were because I was sick, not because I had skipped a meal… or two or three. I remember that after school, I would go out and pick pecans for a few hours to make enough money to buy some bread, peanut butter and jelly.”
“But the holiday season… man, my heart aches even thinking back about it. I remember listening to everyone around me talk about their holiday plans and gifts. I didn’t even know if we would get sandwiches on the holiday, much less a full festive meal.”
Did you know that approximately 2 million people in LA County may go hungry this holiday season? “The knowledge that there are thousands of children in our own backyards that feel the same way I did all those years ago is unacceptable. I hope you agree with me.”
When you give to the Food Bank, you are helping provide one of the simplest but greatest gifts you can give to humanity: good, nutritious meals. Your generous donation today means that children and their families will have food on their tables this week and next. “You know, it is likely that you will never meet the people you are helping feed this holiday season. But, that’s okay. Isn’t that kind of selfless generosity the true spirit of the holidays?”
If you are in a position to give, Leo and the LA Regional Food Bank urge you to please provide the gift of food to the hungry this holiday season. Nothing in the world can equal the feeling of knowing that you provided a meal to a hungry child, senior or family. The Food Bank efficiently turns your gift of $1 or whatever you can afford into healthy, nourishing meals for people all over Los Angeles County.
It’s so simple, but it means everything to someone in need.