Radio One founder and mogul Cathy Hughes may be one of the most successful women in the media industry, but her humble beginnings serve as a continuous inspiration for her mission to help eradicate hunger.
Hughes tells Woman’s Day magazine that growing up, she knew all-too-well the pain and struggle of keeping food on the table.
“My three siblings and I grew up in Omaha’s projects; our father was in college and our mother was a housewife, so we didn’t have much money,” she told the mag. “We weren’t literally starving, but we never had enough to feel satisfied. I remember coming home from my job at 9 p.m. one night when I was 14 (I lied about my age to get hired). The dinner my mom had set aside for me had been eaten by my brothers. They’d left the napkin puffed up on top of the plate to cover their tracks. ”
Later, after Hughes gave birth to her son Alfred at 16, she worked tirelessly to ensure that she and her family would be provided for. But it wasn’t always easy, especially as she embarked on the journey to found her now-hugely successful company, Radio One, from the ground up.
There were times that were so tough, especially following a split from her husband, that for “18 months, [she] slept on the radio station floor and cooked soup on a hot plate.”
Now, with a thriving career that shows no signs of slowing down, Hughes says she keeps her pantry stocked as though she had “10 grandkids, not just one.”
But she also makes sure to give back to the community.
“I donate extras to homeless shelters and to seniors who often have to choose between food and medicine,” she says. “No one should have to make that choice. ”
“At Radio One, we’ve fed thousands of people through donation drives and Thanksgiving turkey giveaways. It’s an incredible feeling to know that my child—and his child—have always had enough to eat. The cycle of hunger has been broken.”
Hughes encourages everyone who can to do their part to help end hunger, not just during September, which is Hunger Action Month, but year-round. If you’d like to host a drive or make a donation, visit FeedingAmerica.org/WomansDay.