TODAY   |  January 08, 2014

Carson, Tamron ‘Shine a Light’ on worthy causes

In the year ahead, the TODAY anchors will pitch in personally to improve communities across the country, a program called “Shine a Light.” On Wednesday Carson Daly revealed that he plans to devote his efforts to fighting poverty in America, and Tamron Hall said she will focus on ending domestic violence.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> special series shine a light where we shine a light on important issues and try to make it better.

>> tamron hall and i will focus our efforts over the next 12 months.

>> the truth is that there isn't always a full meal put on my table.

>> you will go into the fridge and there'll be nothing there.

>> i'm a father. and i wake up every day and eat breakfast with my kids is like a big deal to me. there are millions of kids who wake up and they're not eating. certainly not by choice because they can't. poverty has done something to this country. i think when people think of, oh, starving children, i think they think it's a problem an ocean away. but that's not it. it's the kids sitting next to your kids in well to do areas, in middle class areas, in poor areas. i rode across this country once, l.a. to chicago on route 66 and got to weave in and out of middle america . people are hungry not just in the slums of america, not just in the poor parts, and i saw that firsthand. i would love to go into communities, leave communities with a sense of knowledge and awareness. and that idea of, you know, feeding your neighbor could be something that will continue after we leave.

>> i work with victims, survivors, of domestic violence for many years now. but for me, that work changed after the death of my sister. for years, my sister had been the victim of domestic violence . and i look back at our relationship, our friendship as sisters and i wonder, could i have done something to save her? i want to shine the light on domestic violence . how we as a community, as a country can help save a life. when you look at the number of women, in particular, who die at the hands of someone that they thought loved them and they loved, it should give us pause. there are still young girls who are the victims of domestic abuse and who still feel they are alone. i want them to know that these hands are reaching out to them and we're all going to pull them out of that dark hole and to the light.

>> and we'll look forward to putting efforts into these causes over the coming years.

>> it's great to have the ability to have a reason for a call to action for us and hopefully for our viewers to get in on this shine a light , too. for us, we're all parents here, we'd rather starve than have our children eat. that was a big one for me.

>> statistics are staggering as you said in that piece.

>> 46 million americans are living under the poverty line for a family of four. these kids -- our kids in schools, too.

>> 1 in 4 kids go to bed hungry.

>> it's unacceptable.

>> and the statistics on domestic violence that tamron shared with us. those statistics are startling, as well.

>> they are, matt. and we know that education is the key with so many issues that we face. but with domestic violence , i think there's a sense of loneliness that girls feel, that children who are raised in homes where they witness domestic violence . that is a unique issue. and i think it is such an honor to be on a show and be given this platform, as i said to reach a hand out to a young person and show them that we're there to pull them out of this dark hole. and it just means so much to me as i said personally. i get a little emotional looking at my sister's photograph thinking i let her down thinking i wasn't there for her. but here today, we have an opportunity to be there for others both girls and boys . so it's an honor and it's a mission that i don't take lightly. and i look forward to this year and what we can do through empowerment and education.

>> all right. appreciate that.

>> great stuff. yeah, we're looking forward to our year of action. and please join us along in your efforts, as well. if you plan to shine a light on your special issue. remember, you can track our progress, as well, throughout the year on we'll have updates.

>> we're going to share how viewers are going to do that coming up tomorrow.