Jennifer Garner, 38, was the host of Wednesday’s Save the Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
It was a family affair this year as her husband, Ben Affleck, was honored among others for their work to help children around the world.
Before the gala got underway, Garner told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet that her commitment to the organization, which also advocates for high-quality early childhood education in the United States, is an even greater priority now that she has children of her own.
“There’s nothing that levels the playing field like being a mom and the conversations are as real with those women as they would be with my friends in the Palisades,” Garner said. “Those women love their kids as much as I love mine, and they should have every possible advantage and lack of disadvantage that I have.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 21, 2014
During his speech, Affleck, 38, praised his wife for her commitment to Save the Children.
“Look, I know a lot of celebrities. I’ve seen a lot of celebrities do good work, philanthropic work, show up, take a picture, raise a little money, go to a hospital, shake a kid’s hand, get a picture taken, you know, do their part, albeit a minimal one. My wife is no f—ing joke,” Affleck said. “She really cares about these issues, deeply and personally with the fervent strength that she cares about raising our children and the books, endless books that she hands me (that I’m going to get to) about early childhood education.”
He spoke on Garner‘s love of children and her passion to see these children receive a quality education.
“We are too wealthy a country and too good of a country to allow so many of our children to receive so poor of an education. She feels for those children and she feels for us, if we’re to see millions of Americans grow up without an education, completely ignorant, hostile, jaded, brains half-formed. This is a recipe for disaster for our country,” Affleck said. “I admire what you do and if I may say so, you’ll have to forgive me, Save the Children is damn lucky to have you!”
— Save the Children (@SavetheChildren) November 20, 2014
When it was his turn to receive praise and the Global Child Advocate Award for his work with the Eastern Congo Initiative, the actor was humble.
“There’s clearly been a terrible mistake,” he said. “First of all, I have to assume somebody dropped out at the last minute.”
The Batman v. Superman star then offered praise to those in the Congo whom he called the “real heroes.”
“What everyday Congolese people do in their lives and with their children, to me, is nothing short of heroic. And I know about heroic,” he said. “Every single person who works for the Congo deserves to wear that cape a lot more than I do…I humbly accept this honor on behalf of the Congolese people.”
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) November 20, 2014
Affleck called on others to join the fight.
“This is an area that merits our attention, and if you travel there, I assure you, you will not find people who are helpless, you will not find people who are asking for handouts,” he said. “You will find people who are working their ass off to make their community better and their lives better and their families better and just need some small measure of assistance, a good deal less, incidentally, then every single one of us receives in the United States of America.”
— InStyle (@InStyle) November 13, 2014
“These children are deeply vulnerable and they need and they deserve our help,” concluded Affleck.