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Sally Struthers Reveals The Terrifying Reason She Walked Away From Christian Children’s Fund

“All the In the Family” star Sally Struthers graced our television screens during the 80s and 90s in memorable commercials promoting her mission to Feed The Children. The actress used her fame as spokesperson for ChildFund, formerly Christian Children’s Fund, to help starving children across the globe.

Then suddenly, Struthers walked away and her reason is terrifying. 

Sally Struthers Brutally Mocked For Her Feed The Children Commercials

The sitcom alum became the butt of jokes for her many commercials about starving children.

The impassioned spokesperson on our TV screens looked very different from the young petite Gloria Stivic, daughter to Archie Bunker, that we knew in the 70s.

“I could never understand that from the first time I found out some comic or another made fun of me and then a greeting card was on sale somewhere making fun of me,” she said [1] on the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast.

“It dumbfounded me that if you’re trying to help hungry children, you’re fodder for horrible, cruel jokes. What’s wrong with the world?”

According to Wikipedia [2], Struthers’ activism was satirized by a host of popular shows. The long list includes “Grey’s Anatomy” season 7 episode 19, “In Living Color” season 3 episodes 6 & 18 and season 4 episode 27, “South Park” episodes “Starvin’ Marvin” and “Starvin’ Marvin in Space”, and the Denis Leary song “Voices in my Head”.

An episode where the sketch comedy series “In Living Color” mocks Struthers for her commercials can be seen in the video below.

While Struthers attempted to dismiss the personal attacks, she never expected what was to come next. 

RELATED: ‘All In The Family’s’ Norman Lear And Sally Struthers Celebrate A Big Anniversary By Reminiscing [3]

Sally Struthers Encounters Guerrillas While Filming In Uganda

Sally Struthers said she stopped being a Christian Children’s Fund ambassador out of fear for her life.

She had flown to Uganda on a very small plane to meet a child she sponsored. They were going to film a commercial together.

Remembering what happened next makes her realize how lucky she is to be alive. 

“They brought [the child] from his village, which was quite a few hours away. He had traveled to come meet his sponsor, to meet me, and I made some commercials with him, and I played with him and I brought him toys and balloons,” Struthers recalls. “Well, a roving band of guerrilla warfare guys came out of the bushes and asked [him] where he was from, and he named his village, which was far away, and they decided that we had kidnapped him, and they were going to shoot all of us.”

A priest who was there and spoke the language of the guerrillas told Struthers to walk away without turning her back on the men. She survived but the encountered changed her. 

“I thought, ‘I’ve been on so many little airplanes that could have crashed and in so many horrible situations.’ I came back from one of my trips overseas with hepatitis.” the actress said. “I thought, ‘What am I doing? I’ve got a child, a real-life child of my own, and I’m gonna make her an orphan. I can’t do this anymore.'”

The guerrillas didn’t care that Sally Struthers was there on a humanitarian mission. Her goodwill helped feed countless children but it was time to close that chapter.

The actress was done. 

Feed The Children

The global mission to Feed The Children has been around for decades and Struthers’ work as the Christian Children’s Fund spokesperson helped catapult the cause into the national spotlight.

ChildFund remains active and continues to assist vulnerable children in 30 countries across the world, including the United States.

You can watch one of Sally Struthers’ infamous “Save The Children” commercials in the video below. 

Read next: Archie Bunker Explains Why Gun Control Will Never Work [4]