Soon after Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner announced #SaveWithStories, their initiative to provide books and meals to schoolchildren staying home during the coronavirus crisis, the entries started pouring in.
“It was just born of a small idea to read stories to kids and to create some positivity,” said Adams, who came up with the idea after learning about how much children relied on school meals. “I thought, ‘Well, what if I could find somebody to partner with that would help turn this into a way to help children in need?’ That is where Jennifer comes in. I reached out to Jennifer, and she has really run with this idea and been able to create some beautiful partnership.”
Only weeks into its launch, #SaveWithStories — which was set up to drive donations to Save the Children and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign’s coronavirus response efforts — has raised more than $1 million and served nearly 90,000 children in 200 school communities across the country.
“We’ve raised about $1.7 million in cash so far, and that’s from 25,000 different donors,” Garner shared with Deadline. “Most of that is $10 increments, which is something that Amy and I really were aligned on and knew we wanted the [donations] number to be attainable, especially given just the financial climate of the world.”
Added Garner: “This time has really shown how much food insecurity there is, how reliant people are on schools and what a job they have. So schools are really trying their best to have people in the cafeteria to make the food. Save with Stories is giving them money for the bus drivers and money for the gas to get out to deliver to these small communities where people can’t come in or in cities making sure that, through No Kid Hungry, the food banks and the community feeding services are stocked with school supplies and books to go home with.”
So far, the initiative has logged more than 100 stories read from A-listers including Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pratt, Margot Robbie, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman, Chris Evans, Lupita Nyong’o and many others from athletes to religious leaders and musicians. You can see who else has participated on the #SaveWithStories Instagram page.
“It’s really been inspiring how many people have not only that we’ve reached out to but that have reached out to us and said, ‘I’d love to be involved with this — what can I do?'” said Adams. “What’s been so impressive is how many people and how many authors have reached out and how many books have given us permission to read their books and illustrators that have been supportive of us. I think for me it’s just the scope of involvement is what been surprising and inspiring.”
Since its launch, #SaveWithStories has expanded meet to needs of children worldwide during the global pandemic and is up in running in such far-off places like Australia, South Korea and the Netherlands.
“India has a couple of stories, and then there are a bunch more on the way. The UK is gathering is its artists,” said Garner. “A lot of people who have read for us, they’re going to be able to just launch with a little library of people right off the start.”
And you don’t have to be a Hollywood figure to participate. “The beautiful thing is that people are taking over at home and they’re reading and tagging Save with Stories,” Garner noted. “So there’ll be a next phase that really has fewer celebrities and more just people out there reading for each other.”
Adams said: “This really is just the beginning of the period of giving back. I know there’s going to be a lot of call to action when we come out of this moment. The next moment will need a lot of action too.”
Added Garner: “Amy and I keep talking about the good we’re seeing reflected back in it, whether it’s healthcare workers, doctors, people who are out just in the world and making it possible for us to stay at home, making it possible for us to have the luxury of keeping our families close and healthy. It’s hard not to just be completely inspired by all the beauty just coming out of humanity right now.”
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