Roger's Braid, Portland (GBF)
"As a regular reader of this blog, I was pretty thrilled when my mom recently embarked on a new project to photograph members of the homeless population in Portland. Part of my excitement stems from the new spectrum of colors present in photographs where once there was only black, white, and gray. As an avid enthusiast of GBF’s work, I’ve enjoyed comparing and contrasting the new style of work with the old. Perhaps even more exciting about this new project is the subject matter. Now, I’m not surprised that the artist in question has ventured into a previously untapped realm – this is something she regularly does – but that the current focus aligns so closely with recent events in my life. Specifically, since I moved to Boston but a few short months ago, I discovered a local not-for-profit whose mission it is to enrich the lives of the homeless population through food.
One could call Haley House a soup kitchen, but perhaps a more appropriate title might simply be restaurant with free healthy food. (And I do mean healthy – most of their food comes not from cans, but from a nearby organic farm.) In addition to serving meals, they also dole out a healthy dose of dignity to their patrons. Instead of simply serving guests and sending them back to wander the streets of Beantown, Haley House encourages volunteers to treat guests not as homeless people, but simply as people. Subtle though this distinction may seem, it has the distinct effect of reminding Haley House patrons that they deserve equal treatment as anyone else – an ideal that likely slips away rather quickly after a short period of life on the streets. The Haley House mission resonates beautifully with the ideals that have been deeply instilled in me be the author of this blog and her loving counterpart. That’s why I’m excited to begin working there regularly. (I will in fact be living at their residence for full-time volunteers, an opportunity afforded to me thanks to the generosity of Lynne Melcher and Melissa Mosher, whose thoughtful recommendations played no small part in the acceptance of my application.)
If you’re interested in learning more about Haley House and their work, I encourage you to check out their website. And if you’re in the Boston area, I highly recommend checking out their café at 12 Dade St. (02119 zip code). In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more installments of GBF’s latest project as a means to put the spotlight on the world of street living that’s often brushed aside from the average home-dweller’s daily discourse."
[Max will get room and board at Haley House in exchange for working there. He will be part of a small community of live-in residents who prepare and serve the meals to guests.]