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"Hunger Through My Lens" Project Widens its Exposure

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Hunger Through My Lens, a Colorado-based project that uses photography to spotlight the reality of hunger, has expanded onto the World Wide Web. (Hunger Free Colorado)
Hunger Through My Lens, a Colorado-based project that uses photography to spotlight the reality of hunger, has expanded onto the World Wide Web. (Hunger Free Colorado)
February 22, 2016

DENVER – Hunger Through My Lens, a Colorado-based project that uses photography to spotlight the realities of hunger, has expanded onto the World Wide Web.

Bethany Howell, director of communications and engagement for La Puente, a group that assists homeless people and other community members in the San Luis Valley, is hopeful the increased exposure will move policymakers to commit to ending hunger in the state.

She says the project gives Coloradans experiencing poverty, who often feel powerless, an opportunity to speak for themselves.

"And to share their stories in such a way that they become people - with real lives, real backgrounds, real families and real struggles - for those of us who maybe don't experience those on a daily basis and can't quite grasp what they're going through," says Howell.

The program uses participatory storytelling techniques and digital cameras to connect real faces to the statistics on hunger. The project launched in Denver in 2013 and has expanded to the San Luis Valley, the Roaring Fork Valley - and now online.

Hunger Free Colorado is the group behind the project. Sarah Skeen, its community voice advocate, says one of the biggest challenges addressing hunger is the stigma associated with such programs as food stamps.

Skeen hopes when online visitors see people just like themselves facing similar struggles, it might encourage more families to use the social services that can be a bridge out of poverty.

"A lot of people just live in communities and don't even know that maybe their neighbor hasn't had anything to eat that day," says Skeen. "A photograph, like people always say, is worth a thousand words. And I think through photography, you can convey things that maybe words don't."

Skeen adds now that everyone can see the real-life experiences documented by the program's participants, people can decide for themselves what hunger means in Colorado.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO