EXCLUSIVE: Stars from film, TV, music, sports and other arenas will take part in Stories from Tomorrow, a social media fundraising initiative aimed at ensuring children around the world have access to food and remote learning tools.
The founders of the effort are Casey Affleck, director and writer S-hekh Shem Hetep and Annika Virdone, who has worked on several films as Ben Affleck’s assistant. They have teamed with WriteGirl, New Earth and writer Elizabeth Baxa to pair original stories written by children with actors, musicians, athletes and other public figures. New stories will be featured on Instagram.
Confirmed participants include Robert Redford, Alfre Woodard, Common, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Jon Hamm, Naomi Judd, Matthew Broderick, Vanessa Kirby, Jason Segel, Kyle Chandler and Danny Glover. Also slated are Elias Harger of Fuller House; Dilshad Vadsaria from Greek; Garbiñe Muguruza, a high-ranking pro tennis player; Katherine Waterston, who appeared in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019; and Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019.
Via Pledgeling, a new competitor to GoFundMe, donations made through Stories from Tomorrow will go to Feeding America, a child hunger charity, and Room to Read, which runs literacy and girls’ education programs.
Casey Affleck created the initiative with his mother, a public school teacher for 40 years. Their initial idea was to encourage children stuck at home during COVID-19 shutdowns to write creatively.
“Creative writing can be a good way to process anxiety and loss,” Affleck said in a statement. “By sharing the stories publicly we hope to make them feel heard and empowered, and to encourage them to write more. Because this is international, we hope the storytelling can bring people together across cultures, create some commonality, and shine a light on folks sometimes marginalized in the cacophony of online noise. The wellbeing of children is the best investment we can make.”
Before the pandemic, according to Dan Nisbet, VP of Development at Feeding America, 11.2 million children in the U.S. lacked adequate access to healthy food. The organization expects the number to grow by seven million, which would mean that one of four children in the U.S. could experience food insecurity in 2020.
“The Feeding America network is dedicated to helping families and children in need both during and after the pandemic ends,” he said. “We are grateful to partner with Stories From Tomorrow to share uplifting messages and hope for the future while raising awareness and funds to continue to provide food for our neighbors in need.”
Room to Read CEO Dr. Geetha Murali said it is “vital that children are encouraged to express their emotions and activate their imaginations as this unprecedented learning crisis continues.”
Children under 18 years old, from anywhere in the world, are invited to submit original content to email@example.com. They can also send a recording of themselves reading their story via direct message on Instagram to @storiesfromtomorrow. Original content can be in any language and in the form of a short story, poem, song, or any other format.