Actress Karen Pittman shares her story of overcoming hunger

Karen Pittman volunteering.
February 16, 2024
by Karen Pittman

Karen Pittman is an Actress and Producer who has recently starred in “The Morning Show” and the “Sex and the City” spinoff, “And Just Like That...” As a single mother, she experienced food insecurity in 2013. She shares her story with us below.

In life, there are always ups and downs and obstacles to overcome. I’ve built a career I’m proud of and I worked hard to make sure my kids had everything they needed – including food in their stomachs. 

Part of that meant I made the decision to visit the Brown Memorial Baptist Church food pantry in New York City, a partner of City Harvest, which is a member of the Feeding America network. For me, it didn’t matter where the food came from at the end of day. What mattered most was that I could provide healthy meals for my children that contributed to helping them grow and thrive.

It takes a lot of strength to be a single mom. And it takes even more strength and resilience to single parent while you’re facing hunger and trying your hardest to put food on the table for your kids. The biggest obstacle for me was overcoming the shame I felt. And once I did that, I was able to reframe my situation. I accepted myself and the circumstances as a matter of transition and not as a permanent change. Not as something I’d done wrong, but as an opportunity to surmount a challenge. 

And, sadly, my situation wasn’t unique. In the United States, households headed by single mothers are twice as likely to experience food insecurity than all other households. Further, Black households also experience food insecurity at a much higher rate than other ethnicities. 

Since I’ve overcome the challenge of facing hunger with help, I’m proud to support Feeding America. It’s important to me to support families no matter their parental make up, and certainly in Black communities. I know that for those parents, the Feeding America network, which includes food banks and pantries like the ones I went to, will be there.

Now, I volunteer at City Harvest when I’m able. I do it because it gives me hope about the future – a future where parents won’t have to worry about their children having enough food to eat. And I volunteer because I want people who are going through that right now to not think twice about reaching out for support. I do it for people to know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for extra help, because everyone should have access to the healthiest food options for their family. 

As we celebrate Black History Month, I’m sharing my story, because I believe it’s important to remember that there are always going to be times when we need a little help. But those times don’t define us – they make us stronger. And if being candid about my predicament as a single mother can strengthen the spine of another mother and amplify helpful resources, especially for women of color, then I’m happy to share – during February and any other time of the year.

Want to get involved? Learn how you can help end hunger.