Leighton Meester Says She Wants to Give Her Kids All She Never Had After Growing Up Poor

Leighton Meester became a household name thanks to the role of rich socialite Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, but her upbringing was much different. She was very open about the fact she grew up poor, and she’s now committed to giving her children all she never had.

In a recent interview with People, Meester revealed that she dealt with food insecurity growing up and often relied on food stamps and welfare in her youth. Now that she’s in a position to help others, the 37-year-old actress joined forces with Feeding America and Go Go Squeez, in an attempt to put kids’ lunch boxes this new school year.

Meester knows first-hand how it feels to deal with the stigma and secrecy around food insecurity. She said this experience is something she could never put into words, but she’s happy that her own children will never struggle the way she did.

“[Having children] certainly has made me reflect on my own upbringing and childhood. Having children, I want to give them all that we never had when we were growing up, but also to be candid and open about how grateful we should be for everything that we have,” said Meester.

Meester married fellow actor Adam Brody in 2014, and they have two children together – a seven-year-old daughter Arlo Day, and a young son, who’ll turn three in September.