With a click, a camera captures a moment and experience to share with others. Five local residents have taken photographs to share; their stories are personal and show how hunger affects their families and our communities. They are all participants—the real-life experts—of an advocacy project called Hunger Through My Lens, which started in Denver, and is now expanding to other areas of Colorado. The Roaring Fork Valley project’s first photo exhibit opens on June 9, 2016 from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Eagle County Community Building in El Jebel – refreshments will be served. The exhibit will remain on display through the end of June.
Hunger Through My Lens, a project of Hunger Free Colorado, the health and human service departments of Pitkin and Eagle counties and Aspen Community Foundation, is shedding light on the reality of hunger in Colorado. It is based on the photovoice model, a form of participatory action research that has been widely used in academic and other fields. Digital cameras are the main medium for participants to express themselves and put real stories to the overwhelming statistics surrounding hunger and food insecurity. The participants maintain rights to all of their photographs.
“More than 800,000 of our neighbors are at risk of hunger, but this prevalent issue, one that impacts everyone, is often silent and invisible,” said Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado. “Hunger Through My Lens serves as a platform for Coloradans to share their stories. The participants—those who experience hunger—are the experts and the foundation of this project, and showcasing their perspective is the first step in working towards new solutions.”
The group of participants includes four women and one man of varying ages, locations and backgrounds. They range in age from 12 to mid-60s and reside in local areas, such as Snowmass, El Jebel and New Castle. Their photographs and stories shared in the Hunger Through My Lens exhibit showcases their experiences coping with health issues, geographic isolation, lack of public transportation, raising children on their own and high unemployment due to lack of available jobs — and how hunger has impacted their lives.
"It’s impossible to live a healthy life if you face a daily struggle to find your next meal. Hunger affects individuals’ abilities to thrive at work, school and in the community, “said Sarah VanScoy, a pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente and board member for Hunger Free Colorado. “Kaiser Permanente is proud to support this important project as part of our mission to improve the health of our community.”
Traveling exhibits of Hunger Through My Lens will display the participants’ photographs and stories at locations around our state, providing community members and policy makers with the opportunity to experience everyday life from their perspective. It also allows individuals to engage in critical dialogue not only about the issue, but sustainable solutions that can ensure all Coloradans have access to needed nutrition through healthy, affordable food.
“The participants’ photographs provide tangible evidence that there is a need to face the impacts of hunger on individuals, families and communities throughout Colorado,” shared Underhill. “It’s time to change how we view and understand the issue of hunger, and we need to include individuals impacted by the issue in solving the problem across our state.”
This project received funding support from ConAgra Foods Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, one of the founding partners for Hunger Free Colorado.
“ConAgra Foods Foundation applauds Hunger Free Colorado for enabling people to raise their voices and share stories, so that we all can better understand the issue of hunger in this country,” said Kori Reed, executive director for ConAgra Foods Foundation.
To learn more about Hunger Through My Lens, its traveling exhibits and how you can be a part of the solution, visit www.HungerThroughMyLens.org.
About Hunger Free Colorado
Hunger Free Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization launched in 2009, connects families and individuals to food resources and fuels change in policies, systems and social views, so no Coloradan goes hungry. Learn more at HungerFreeColorado.org.
Hunger Free Colorado
Communications Specialist - cell (720) 593-0187