This blog post is a little different than any of my other photography posts you will see here. The Front Steps Project was wrapped in love and a desire to help during a time that felt helpless. In March 2020, the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic struck our nation to a screeching halt. Many (if not all) of us felt some sort of fear and anxiety about the future. I’ll fully admit, I was one of them and curled up into a ball at first in not knowing what was coming next. All of my booked client sessions were postponed or canceled.
Then, I decided I wanted to help, but I just wasn’t sure how. I kept asking myself, “How can I use my God-given talents to help in a time like THIS???” Photography. Ok, but how? I had a lot of extra time on my hands. Not having my client sessions also provided a lack of my creative outlet that normally lights my heart on fire.
Then it hit me…The Front Steps Project! I would come to people’s homes, where everyone was quarantining together, and capture safe, socially-distant family portraits in the front of their beloved homes! I wouldn’t charge for these sessions, but ask that family’s make donations to two local, Hamilton County organizations that were greatly affected by what was happening. The two organizations that I chose were Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County and the Humane Society for Hamilton County.
Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County provides nutritious meals delivered to elderly, disabled, chronically ill and homebound residents either on a short-term or a long-term basis. Recipients may be recovering from a hospital stay, an injury or a disabling illness. Meals are provided five days a week as long as necessary. With the majority of their need being the elderly population, meal delivery was crucial during quarantine in order for these high-risk people to receive nutritious meals. I have been wanting to get involved with this organization for awhile, and thought this was the perfect timing to get involved! I have since become a delivery driver and can’t wait to get started delivering meals!
The Humane Society for Hamilton County is one of the only open admission, truly no-kill animal shelters in the country. They give every treatable, savable, rehabilitatable animal the second chance it deserves. As both the animal control facility and Humane Society for Hamilton County, they rescue the most difficult to save, and place, animals imaginable. From victims of abuse and those with hit-by-car injuries, to pets displaced by the economy or a lack of owner commitment, they are equally committed to them all. HSHC that believes any animal that can be saved, rehabilitated, or treated is never euthanized. After all, one of them may be your soulmate. They exist to help make those forever-home matches!
I have a special place in my heart for dog rescue, as I have been a foster in the past (and honestly dream to have my own dog rescue someday ❤️). While their pet adoptions stayed steady through the pandemic, they were dramatically affected financially. You see, the bulk of their financial support each year comes from their 3 big events they host as fundraisers (over $400,000 of their operating budget) and all 3 of them had to be canceled this year. This money helps them to run the daily operations to keep the lights on, food for the animals, cleaning supplies, medical support, and many other necessities needed in order to stay afloat.
So, how much did we raise and what was the impact of those donations?
I was blown away not only by how many people signed up to be a part of this project, but how generous you all were in your donations! With all of your help, we raised $1,855 for the Humane Society and $2,855 for Meal on Wheels!
WOW! When I calculated that, I just couldn’t believe it and I am SO THANKFUL to each and every one of you that made this possible! I reached out to both organizations in order to get a better picture of what impact this money truly has.
Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County sent me this amazing graphic below (I’m a visual person myself and this really helped to get a better idea of the impact):
So what does this mean? This means that the $2,855 that was donated provided meals for a WHOLE week for 57 people! Or provides meals for 13 people for an entire month! Or a total of 576 meals! That’s a lot of meals and a lot of people served who need it most.
The Meals on Wheels Team wants to extend their gratitude for your support during this difficult time! Of course, I had to take their “front steps” photo too 😉
Interested in getting more involved with Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County? Visit their website here. They are most in need of financial donations right now.
Your donations to the Humane Society of Hamilton County…
$50 covers the average cost to spay/neuter an animal OR funds the cost of basic care for one animal for three days. So that means that your donations helped 37 spay/neuters, or 111 days of basic care for one animal.
Their team Front Steps Photo included the CUTEST team member🐶
Interested in more ways to help? They are always in need of people to volunteer, foster, adopt, and donate. You can also find more ways to help here on their website.
OK…now it’s time to share some of my favorite photos from each of the almost 100 families that helped us to raise the incredible amounts above! These images range from all ends of the spectrum:
- From wearing your pajamas to your nice Easter outfits that you never got to wear.
- Families with brand new babies who didn’t get to have their newborn photos taken.
- More than one family got to include pets in their photos that just within weeks of taking them, they had to say goodbye💔
- To other families who just adopted a new pet and we got to capture their short puppy stage.
- One family had just moved back into their home after having to move out for almost a year due to mold they found in their home right after purchasing it (what a homecoming!)
- One family was getting ready to move out of their only home their child had ever known and onto a new adventure.
- Another family was announcing they were adopting from another country, only to be put on hold due to travel restrictions (but now are literally on their way to pick their baby up now!)
- I got to capture a friend and police officer who is a single mom to a 1 year old son and decided to adopt a puppy during this time!
- One woman was supposed to have a big 50th birthday party and be traveling, but they decided to host her party in their driveway with their friends and neighbors and have a tailgate — maybe not what she had planned on for her big celebration, but she will certainly never forget this birthday!
- Some of you wore masks to document these times.
- And some of you got to even include your cats (something that you normally can’t include your cats in family photos that aren’t at home!)
- One family was going through the adoption process, and they adoption agency requires a professional family photo. They didn’t have one so I was honored to get to capture one for them through this project!
- Doctors and nurses who were on the frontlines in the hospitals during Covid-19 influxes.
- Some of you had hilarious ideas that I was more than happy to comply with 🤣
Each one of these families have a special place in my heart and I am so grateful that I was able to meet so many new people and capture each of your individual personalities and stories ❤️
Phew! That was A LOT of (beautiful) families! I am so grateful for this experience and I’m so glad I decided to do this. I am really thinking about doing this once a month or once a quarter to raise money for various local organizations or non-profits that could use some help. Stay tuned for more on that idea!
If you are interested in booking a family portrait session, I would love to help you capture your story to help you fill your home with the people that you love!
With love and gratitude,