A Different Kind of Hunger

In the snapshot, a young woman has paused to look in the mirror of the lobby of a building. She’s got her young daughter with her in a stroller: the little girl is bundled up in a coat and hat, rubbing her little eyes to fight the tug of sleep. The woman, camera in hand, is capturing the moment with a selfie. She’s titled the picture “Something to Smile About,” and it documents her experience struggling to make ends meet in the nation’s capital.

Next to the photo, a caption reads:

“I was still homeless, and I was still struggling to take my daughter to see a nanny so that I could go to work. I had to take a metro and a bus and the commute was difficult and I was feeling sad. But I looked in the mirror and thought to myself that there’s always something to smile about. Even though I was the one who was exhausted, my daughter was the one who was falling asleep, and that made me laugh.”

The woman’s name is Judith and she is one of seven Washington-area women whose photos went on public display this week at THEARC in Washington, D.C. as part of the opening of this city’s chapter of Witnesses to Hunger.

Witnesses to Hunger is a research and advocacy project that features the photographs, words, and up-close-and-personal experiences of “the real experts on hunger” – moms, dads, and caregivers of young children who are experiencing hunger and poverty, and it comes to D.C. in partnership with C.Fox client Martha’s Table.  Leveraging their own experiences, Witnesses advocate for local, state, and federal policies that help alleviate the challenges of poverty – from access to quality nutrition programs to affordable housing.

Listening and learning from each of these courageous women—Judith, Kim, Nef, Jessica, Lelise, Terra, and Renee — who chose to put the daily challenges of their lives on public display for the greater good was a powerful reminder that the strongest voices in any debate are often those least likely to be heard.  Their hunger to be ‘heard’ was felt loud and clear this week, as we became their witnesses to change.

To learn more about the Witnesses to Hunger project in partnership with Martha’s Table, click here.

Sign up here to receive the intersection straight to your mailbox, every Friday morning.