I’m writing this post in late June, and to say the last three months have been a whirlwind is a vast understatement. I started this year determined to keep up with blog posts more, update images on my site in the late Winter slow season, and do continuing education. None of which happened, since my three children were 100% home with me starting March 13th, two of them doing distance learning while the youngest lamented her loss of nursery school friends and alone time with mommy.
Before we entered full stay-at-home orders, several friends texted me about this cool photography project up in Massachusetts, #TheFrontStepsProject. A way to bring communities together virtually while staying apart, while raising funds for local organizations that help people shut down in the pandemic. I had received an email from the Greater DC Diaper Bank, that same week, outlining how they were increasing hubs to get essential baby supplies (not just diapers, but formula and other crucial baby items) to those who were suddenly unemployed. Here in DC, those numbers skyrocketed quickly. I’ve volunteered at the Diaper Bank and seen firsthand how this lean organization works to serve so many, and it’s been high on my list of places to give philanthropically for years.
The founders of #TheFrontStepsProject saw how quickly their project gained momentum and offered guidance for other photographers who wanted to do it. The way #TheFrontStepsProject works, you offer to take photographs of families on their front steps, at a safe social distance, and ask that in return, they make a donation to your organization of choice. It seemed like a no-brainer — I had this desire to do something to help, and here I could use my photography skills, support this amazing organization, and give an uplifting gift of a photograph to the community members who participated in the project.
And honestly, as a parent whose children had been sent home from school on spring break a week early, and who had just found out that her children would embark on distance learning from home, this was a fulfilling outlet that I knew would help me as I dove into our new reality.
I emailed my neighborhood listserv, put up a post on Instagram, and started taking photos. As quickly as it started, it came to a screeching halt — we found out at midday on the 30th that stay-at-home orders were going in place in Maryland that evening at 8pm. In four evenings of shooting, I was delighted to photograph 35 families and raise almost $3,000 for the Greater DC Diaper Bank. I wish it could have gone on, but I firmly believed in following stay-home orders and our community responsibility to do so. Too many to share in one post, here is the first of several to share these families’ photographs.