Viola Davis used to forage bins for food.

The 'How To Get Away With Murder' star and her family struggled financially when she was a child and she constantly plotted ways to overcome her hunger, including befriending a boy whose mother gave her banana bread, joining a summer programme for free drinks and doughnuts and even rummaging through refuse.

She said: ''We had no food...

''[At school] I was always so hungry and ashamed, I couldn't tap into my potential. I couldn't get at the business of being me.''

The 49-year-old actress recalled how her parents would stock up on groceries when they received their monthly welfare payment, but the food didn't last long.

She added to America's Glamour magazine: ''It was like, If you don't eat it now, it'll be gone, and you're going to be hungry for the next -- Lord, who knows how long.''

Viola - who has four-year-old daughter Genesis with husband Julius Tennon - believes she is the person she is today because of how she adapted in such tough circumstances.

She said: ''One thing that is missing from the vision boards is what happens when you don't get what you want.

''Your ability to adapt to failure, and navigate your way out of it, absolutely 100 percent makes you who you are.''

Viola is backing Hunger Is, a campaign by the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation and has already helped raise $4.5 million - but still wants to do more.

She said: ''I'm going to hit up more of my friends.

''This is the richest country in the world. There's no reason kids should be going to school hungry. Food is something that everyone should have. It just is.''