TACKLING HUNGER–In this April 6, 2013 photo provided by Michael Kors, Kors and actress Halle Berry pose for a photo at Kors’ Midtown office in New York. (AP Photo)
by Samantha Critchell
NEW YORK (AP) — Halle Berry says she’s a woman of compassion and Michael Kors says he’s a man of action. Together, they want to make a dent in the battle against hunger around the world.
The actress and fashion designer announced a philanthropic campaign Monday called Watch Hunger Stop that includes raising money through the sale of a version of Kors’ best-selling Runway watch. For each $295 watch sold, 100 meals will be provided to children through the U.N. World Food Programme.
Berry and Kors are planning to visit places together where the meals will be sent. They could land in Africa, in Syria, perhaps Central America.
The 46-year-old Berry, who is expecting her first child with fiance Olivier Martinez, said in an exclusive joint interview Saturday with Kors: “I hope we go while I’m pregnant, so I can talk about prenatal care.”
“And I will have time off,” she said, patting her belly and smiling. “I’m not working right now.” (There was no sign of a baby bump in her chic black sheath with a bit of beading at the neckline.)
Berry, who has a 5-year-old daughter, said she wanted to meet and talk with mothers struggling to feed themselves and their children while she was expecting. It will help build a connection, she said.
“It’s so important to me, being a mom, that I can help educate women on how important it is that when you have a healthy child, it helps set them up for life.”
Kors and Berry hope to involve 5 million people, either through donations of time or money.
Berry, who supports the Jenesse Center, an anti-domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles, said working with the U.N. “is the next evolution in my philanthropic world. It puts my heart and compassion on a global scale.”
Kors is a longtime supporter of God’s Love We Deliver, a New York-based organization that delivers meals to those in need. “The change you saw when people going hungry got a meal — it was an immediate difference. This isn’t about research or a big political or social change, this is about giving a meal to people who need them.”
“I go all over the globe traveling, and there are very few things in the world that are solvable catastrophes,” he said. “This is one of them.”
The designer said he asked Berry to be his partner in the campaign because “I’m enthralled by fabulous jugglers.”
The message would be strongest coming from two well-known voices, he said. “I wanted someone talented, check. Someone compassionate to the world, a great mother, someone incredibly glamorous and chic — and who makes it all look easy.”
“If we can use our celebrity, I want to. I don’t want it to go waste,” Berry said. “If would be a shame not to use it.”
There are many fundraising products for many good causes, Kors said, but choose a watch and it’s simple math: a direct formula that it’s 100 meals per watch as a conversation starter. Plus, he wears a watch, although he uses his cellphone to check the time. The watch is to make more of “a James Bond statement,” he joked.