While actress Jennifer Garner likely stands out in our collective memories as the lead of classic rom-com “13 Going on 30,” she has also been a vocal partner of Save the Children for over a decade.
As an Artist Ambassador for the NGO, this work has taken Garner across the country to bring the organization’s early childhood education programs to West Virginia and advocate to lawmakers in Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
Most recently, she made a trip to Bloomfield, New Mexico, to meet with members of the Navajo Nation and the state legislature to drum up support for Save the Children programs.
First, she made a visit to Central Primary Schools in Bloomfield and was greeted by swaths of excited students and teachers. Third grade teacher Adele Gutierrez shared a video of Garner walking the halls on her Facebook page.
“My 3rd grade class was excited,” Gutierrez wrote.
In a quieter part of the school, Garner also joined Navajo leaders for a meal.
“She had some traditional Diné foods for lunch! Naashjizhii (Steamed Corn) Mutton Stew w/frybread, Chííł Chin (Sumac) pudding, Tąą’niil (Blue Corn Mush) & Navajo Tea,” Indigenous community member Graham Tome Biyáál tweeted.
“She was in town with Mark Kennedy Shriver,” Biyáál continued. “They are working with schools and families in rural areas to increase student access to books, literacy programs, and developing educational support programs. So so so cool.”
Garner was later joined by Mark Kennedy Shriver on the floor of the New Mexico state house, transparently noting that “we are here trying to shore up some state funding.”
“We were told that Save the Children has been changing the community in the short time that it’s been there,” she told lawmakers, following her visit to school programs in the community.
“It makes the kids and teachers and families feel like they matter, like somebody sees them, that somebody cares for them.”
This is not the first time Garner has been vocal in her support of Indigenous communities. In 2020, she worked with Save the Children to visit Mono Tribal land in California, supporting families who were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as destructive wildfires in the region.
“On this trip, I saw capable and loving leadership from Big Sandy Rancheria’s Tribal Chairperson Liz Kipp, I helped deliver a celebrated truckload of necessities … and I participated in a prayer and offering to the burned tribal land,” Garner shared in a Facebook post.
“All of this sent me home feeling extra grateful and certain of the good in our beautiful country.”
Garner’s organic food company, Once Upon A Farm, also helps provide support to impoverished Americans through a partnership with Save the Children. The company has donated nearly 500,000 meals to food-insecure communities and has a goal of delivering a million nutritious meals by 2025.
“Our efforts support Save the Children’s early education and nutrition programs that help kids reach their full potential for a happier, healthier tomorrow,” the brand’s website shares.
Between personal philanthropy, community engagement, and outspoken political support, Garner’s work in Bloomfield appeared to be celebrated and appreciated by locals.
New Mexico Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart introduced Shriver and Garner upon their visit to the state house earlier this week.
“Garner has been a champion for Save the Children for nearly 15 years,” Stewart said. “She’s a true advocate for children experiencing poverty in rural America and promotes the importance of literacy, nutrition, and early education efforts as platforms for children to thrive as learners and in life.”
Header images courtesy of El Harvey and Sia Correa Hemphill