When I was asked to photograph a corporate retreat recently, I had no idea what impact it would make on me personally. Usually there is an emotional connection to clients during sessions. This is a normal connection that helps me get good shots, but this particular event took me to another place I wasn't expecting to go.
On a very steamy and hot Friday morning,I met my client and his team at a place in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn called Sure We Can for a corporate volunteer project. When I arrived, I was surprised to see a lot full of what looked like beautiful garbage meets a scene from the movie District 9. It was a recycling center with very bright murals painted throughout supported by piles and piles of cans and bottles. There were people inside sorting, separating and performing other green tasks.
As the team arrived to begin their activity, I noticed another group of people setting up tables and a grill outside of the recycling center. These people wore shirts that said Elisha Project. After inquiring more about what would happen that day, because I was a bit confused, I found out that the corporate activity was being run by the Elisha Project; a non-profit organization dedicated to servicing communities. They would prepare food such as hotdogs, burritos, assorted baked goods etc to deliver to the people in the neighborhood including the folks working in the recycling center.. great collaboration.
The day went on with food preparation and many people in the neighborhood came out to have food. The team even took food out in large containers to hand out in the street and subway. The reactions of many took me by surprise. I really believed this would benefit only homeless people, but had no idea of how many hungry or simply, grateful people there are out there. These people were not homeless. One woman asked for seconds very politely and said that she was hungry and hadn't eaten since the day before; she was dressed in a work uniform. Another asked "where did you people come from? You are like angels."
This project was so very enlightening for me. There have been times in my life where I had next to nothing and somehow a way was always made. I am so blessed and humbled by this experience and was glad to be a part of the "way" being made for someone else.
If you are interested in learning more about the Elisha Project please visit their website.