Who doesn’t love Jennifer Garner?
The fresh-faced beauty from West Virginia is an incredibly talented actress who defies typecasting. She was as convincing as an international assassin in “Elektra” as she was playing a gawky teenage girl trapped in an adult’s body in “13 Going On 30.” She’s also married to actor Ben Affleck, with two beautiful daughters and a third baby on the way.
Plus, when she’s not balancing a successful career with raising a family, Jennifer is an active advocate for Save the Children – an organization that works to improve childhood education, literacy, physical activity and nutrition.
“One of five kids in our country live in poverty,” she said. “They don’t get the food and resources they need, much less the reds, yellows and greens they should have in their diet. We want to teach children how to eat healthy while they’re young.”
This year, the 39-year-old actress is once again teaming up with Frigidaire to raise money for this worthy cause. To celebrate the launch of the new Frigidaire Range with Symmetry Double Ovens, Jennifer shared some of her best tips and tricks for holiday entertaining online at MakeTimeForChange.com. For the first 500 visits to the page, the brand will donate a turkey to a needy family, and for every single visit, $1 will be donated to Save the Children.
She also took the time to chat with ModernMom about her family, the holidays and why Save the Children is so close to her heart. Read the full interview below:
What inspired you to get involved with Save the Children?
I wanted to work with Save the Children when I learned about the efficacy of their program and the breadth of their program for helping kids from ages zero through elementary school who are growing up in poverty in rural America.
What are some ideas for how can families help others in need this holiday season?
It’s a tricky thing, to teach your children about philanthropy because you want them to understand without any feelings of guilt. So it’s a fine line. One thing that I’ve always found is that we are always needing to purge books, clothes, toys and really help your kids understand through pictures or online, driving through different parts of town. Help them understand who will be the recipient of toys that are still in great shape but maybe aren’t the ones that are first out of the toy box anymore, and maybe take them with you when you donate them.
Speaking of holidays, how does your family celebrate?
We celebrate the holidays with as many family members as we can gather together, whether it’s at our house in LA or we travel to West Virginia or Boston, you know you’re always going somewhere or someone is coming in. Nothing makes me happier than being in the kitchen with my mom and sisters. That to me, feels like Thanksgiving.
What’s your favorite holiday recipe?
We always make my Grandmother Exie’s sweet potato pudding with marshmallows roasted on top. It is sweet and gooey and hardly even counts as a vegetable by the time we’re through but it is our family’s big-time, forever tradition.
Once the holidays are over, and you’re back into the regular routine, how do you get your children to eat healthy food?
Well, you encourage kids to eat healthy food by offering it to them when they’re hungry. So I always have some kind of cut-up vegetables available when I’m cooking dinner, right when everyone is their hungriest – instead of crackers and cheese. I mean, I love those foods as well, but I sneak in the veggies whenever I can. That way it’s just an organic part of what they’re snacking on.
How do you manage to find the time for family meals with a such a busy schedule?
Well, the great and also the hard thing about my job is the inconsistency, so when I’m working, I don’t always make it home in time for dinner. If that’s the case, then usually Ben takes over or or my mother-in-law is around, you know we figure it out. But when we’re really busy, we’ll try to have breakfast together and make that our time together, even if it’s early in the morning. And certainly, sometimes I’ll have dinner a couple of times – I’ll have it at five o’clock with the kids and then I may have it again later with Ben. You know it may add a couple of pounds, but it’s so important to all sit down together.
What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
One thing that people don’t know about me is that I was born with a hole in my head where everyone else has a sense of direction. And I cannot tell my left from my right, I don’t know which street I just came down or which way I’m going ever ever ever, even in my own hometown.
Megan Sayers is the managing editor for ModernMom. Follow her on Twitter @MeganSayers