NCIS: Los Angeles actor Chris O’Donnell recently teamed up with the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America to support the fight against child hunger in America. Chris helped to create a PSA-style video highlighting the cause.
Chris opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his work with the ConAgra Foods Foundation, what inspired him to join the cause, and his five children, Lily, 14, Chip, 13, Charles, 10, Finley, 7, and Maeve, 6. The talented actor also reveals that his kids have play dates with the Garner-Afflecks, who happen to live right up the street!
CBS: Tell us about how 1 in 5 kids in the USA go hungry in the summer months. Why does this happen? Why did you get involved in this cause – why are you teaming up with the ConAgra Foods Foundation?
COD: “When we talk about hunger and specifically hungry children, we don’t think it is happening here in the United States. However, 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily know where the next meal is coming from.
There are so many kids in this country that depend on school meal programs, and during the summer months the numbers are particularly high because they’re not in school. They are unable to rely on those subsidized meal programs.
As a father-of-five myself, I wanted to do something to help. I decided to team up with the ConAgra Foods Foundation because they have a long history of trying to help end child hunger.
Together, along with Feeding America, we created a PSA-style video about the child hunger issue. You can watch it at http://www.childhungerendshere.com/takingaction. For every view, a meal will be donated to Feeding America.”
CBS: Did your kids encourage/inspire you to participate?
COD: “Yes. When your own kids are well taken care of and you become aware of the children who aren’t, it motivates you to want to help out.”
CBS: How are your 5 kids doing? What is everyone’s age now?
COD: “They’re doing great – they always keep us on our toes. They’re 14, 13, 10, 7 and 6 now.”
CBS: We hear you are neighbors with your old School Ties costar Ben Affleck, and that your daughters are friends.
COD: “Yes, we’re neighbors and our kids do have play dates together. Our wives are also buddies.”
CBS: With Ben and Jennifer living so close, how do you and your family escape the paparazzi so well? The Garner-Afflecks seem to be in the headlines every day. How have you and your children escaped this?
COD: “The paparazzi aren’t interested in us and that is fine with me. Quite a few couples living in the area are forced to deal with them, and it is not fun.”
CBS: The last time we chatted, you said that your kids didn’t have Bieber fever, but your daughter loves Taylor Lautner. Who and what is big in your house these days? Do you feel like your kids are keeping you trendy and cool?
COD: “My daughter is into One Direction right now, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are also pretty big around here. Currently, the Chicago Blackhawks are holding center stage. I don’t know if my kids are keeping me trendy and cool, but they do introduce me to a lot of new music…not always good.” [laughs]
CBS: With such a big family, do you carve out one-on-one time with each of your kids? What are some of the fun things you like to do with your kids?
COD: “Absolutely. We try to encourage each child’s individual interests, because they’re all so unique; they dabble in all types of sports and extracurricular activities. We also try to mix community service into the fun activities we do with them. For example, we help clean up beaches together.”
CBS: What are your upcoming Father’s Day plans? What do your kids usually get for you? What does Father’s Day mean to you?
COD: “Father’s Day means spending time with my family. I also plan to play golf without a trace of guilt. Some of my most memorable gifts from my kids have been homemade cards – my kids putting their feelings into words.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
COD: “NCIS: Los Angeles got picked up for a fifth season, and our 100th episode is coming up. In this episode, viewers will find out information about my character’s life and history. I’m also looking forward to directing again.”