The Way It Is In Rhode Island

Below are just a few of the faces of people in need, many homeless, most hungry. These pictures were made in the  Mathewson Street Methodist Church hall in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The large room is filled with men and women at long tables, waiting for the morning meal. They are being served up a hearty breakfast of porridge, sausage, eggs, and home fries by an army of volunteers. There’s a big coffee urn but no buffet line. They are being served their meal with dignity. I met and photographed both the church volunteers and the recipients of this meal on two successive Sunday mornings. It was an real eye opening experience, almost surreal. I found the old church by following the long line of people heading down Mathewson Street. There were so many, some so young, and others so old. So many women. I had no idea of the need. When Scott Budnick and Pastor Jack Jones invited me to visit, I expected to find maybe fifty or sixty people, instead I found hundreds, many just like me but for bad luck, addiction or illness. The room was bursting with hungry people. It makes one thankful…

I arrived at Pastor Jack’s breakfast by following a trail of volunteers that help “food insecure” Rhode Islanders. I began my journey at the Food Pantry in Peace Dale, then to the Rhode Island Food Bank, then the Master Gardeners plot at URI and on to the Potato Peelers at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Kingston, with other stops along the way. (Pictures of these good people and some they serve can be found in earlier entries in my blog.)

Driving home, I had many questions. Why so many? Where do these people sleep? How do they get by in the winter? What happens when the shelters fill? What do they do when they get sick or run out of medicine? How do they get around? And the big question, “Why is there such poverty in our state?” I haven’t any answers but maybe I can raise awareness of this acute need with my camera. Please help by sharing this post with your fiends. Thank you.

To see a short movie at the Sunday Friendship Breakfast go here.