One Woman's Impact

 

Emily Hallquist
Digital Documentary Photography
December 2009

“One Woman’s Impact,” tells the involvement of Ann Bumgardner with the Inter-faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, NC.  The Inter-faith Food Shuttle alleviates hunger in the Triangle area by recovering unwanted, but still usable, food from grocery stores, wholesale food vendors, corporate cafeterias, catering companies and the North Carolina State Farmers Market.  The Food Shuttle then redistributes this food to soup kitchens and after-school tutoring programs.  It also runs a Culinary Job Training program that trains struggling adults for jobs in the food industry.

When I began this project, I was focused on the programs of the Food Shuttle.  However, after spending time at the Food Shuttle, I became most impressed and touched by its incredible community of employees and volunteers.  Its community consists of people of all ages who have devoted their lives to working to provide food to the hungry.  At the center of this community is Ann Bumgardner, fondly known as “Miss Ann” at the Food Shuttle.  After meeting Miss Ann, and hearing everyone at the Food Shuttle speak so fondly of her, I knew I wanted to focus my project on her.

To learn more about Miss Ann’s involvement with the Food Shuttle, I attended her 79th birthday party and went with her to the North Carolina State Farmers Market.  During both of these shoots, I witnessed the depth to which people respect and admire Miss Ann.  Miss Ann has been recovering food from the North Carolina State Farmers Market since 1991.  She has recently returned to volunteering at the Food Shuttle after a sabbatical from some health problems.  When I went with her to the Farmers Market, the vendors greeted her with incredible warmth as they welcomed her back.  I hoped to capture in my photographs the love Miss Ann inspires in everyone around her.  By documenting the story of Miss Ann, I want to show that the Inter-faith Food Shuttle is a great organization because of the dedication of its employees and volunteers.  

Photographing this project has afforded me the invaluable opportunity to meet new people and become involved with their cause.  By jumping into a new situation, I was challenged to reach out to people to gain insight into their lives.  Miss Ann’s calling for helping people has inspired me to care deeply about the cause of hunger.  I have been most impressed with the respect Miss Ann shows for the people she has helped over the years.  She has become personally involved in the lives of the people she has fed and simply wants to help them, regardless of their circumstances.  This attitude that Miss Ann has brought to the Food Shuttle for over two decades explains her great impact on the people she encounters.