On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, a special photo exhibit by 15 Colorado Women who are sharing their photos and stories about the experiences they have had with the many Coloradoans struggling to put food on their tables. One photo in the exhibit explains the true meaning of the exhibit. The photo is of a bent fork and the words “a broken system.” “Hunger Through My Lens” is the name of the exhibit which truly exemplifies how broken the system of dealing with hunger in our state is. There are an estimated 840,000 people in Colorado who face this struggle daily.
These fifteen women will be a the Capital on Wednesday from 9:00am to 4:30 pm telling their stories and showing their pictures, close the circle demonstrating the true life stories they have heard. This will be their day, a day of advocacy, as lawmakers and the public listen to their stories and look at their photos, taken mainly with digital cameras, of the lives of those on food stamps and hungry.
These women are living examples of their own pictures and stories as each of them have experienced hunger themselves with their residence in Denver. Hunger Free Colorado is the non-profit organization who is facilitating this exhibit hoping to make a difference allowing these women to shed the light on hunger which is spread throughout our communities. The organization is basing the exhibit on what they are calling the “photovoice” model. This model is widely used in many fields to include academics, art and journalism, where the photos, in a surrealistic way, not only provide a visual accounting of a subject, but are profound enough to speak or be the voice of it. The old saying “a picture speaks a thousand words” comes to mind when I hear the term.
This day of advocacy is yet another way the organization and these 15 women are planning to spread the word of hunger throughout the state. Putting the pictures right in the middle of where the lawmakers, legislators and decision makers of our state work on a daily basis. On Tuesday the 4th., the women get to share their stories with these leaders of our community. On Wednesday the 5th, many of them will be present at the exhibit adding to the final chapter of those stories hoping to demonstrate, through those images, their stories and return dialogue, there is a true issue and there are sustainable solutions.
Kathy Underhill, the Executive Director for Hunger Free Colorado, is noted as saying; “Their photographs and stories provide tangible evidence that there’s a need to face the impacts of hunger on individuals, families and communities throughout Colorado, It’s time we change how we view and understand not only the issue of hunger but who should be included in working towards solutions that can ensure no Coloradan has to worry about when and where they will get their next meal.”
The 15 women, who are opening up what many would consider to be a very private part of their lives, and sharing it with the community, are of various ages, backgrounds and from different locations; Aurora, Conifer, Park Hill, Lakewood, Montebello and Commerce City, ranging in age from their early 20’s to their mid-60’s. They are displaying their experiences with health issues, homelessness while raising their children, what recession truly does to a person, the direct impact it has taken on their lives. With this display of openness it shows too, the truth many do not want to see, how it effects our communities, unhidden, uncovered.
Underhill also commented; “Each participant’s story is unique, and through their lens, we see that no one is immune from experiencing hunger.”
The exhibit will be on display at many locations around the Denver Metro Area after leaving the capital and will be releasing a “how-to” toolkit as they continue around the state.
About Hunger Free Colorado
Launched in 2009, Hunger Free Colorado has emerged as the leading statewide anti-hunger organization, leveraging the power of collaboration, system change, policy change and social change to ensure every Coloradan has access to adequate, nutritious food.
To learn more about Hunger Free Colorado, the exhibit; “Through My Lens,” where it will be traveling to, on what dates, times and what you can do to help be a part of the solution click here or visit the Hunger Free Colorado Organization at; www.HungerFreeColorado.org.