I blogged previously about this story but I thought I'd mention it again after receiving an email from my Dad about the community's response to the images. I think it's a testament to visual storytellers, that even in these days, what we do can make a difference. I also think it reaffirms that documentary photography, community journalism and photo stories are still very much alive.
The story was about Mildred, a 73-year-old great grandmother, raising five of her great grandchildren. If you'd like to see the entire set of images and the print version check out my website at:
And here are my dad's words passed on:
This is the follow up about Mildred Ruffin, the great grandma taking care of her five great grandchildren, and it appeared in the Daily Break Section, October 28, 2008. I don't know if the writer has forwarded this to you. It was written by: Carl Fincke of Virginian-Pilot. I will do it in any case, forward this to you.
GREAT-GRANDMOTHER STORY PULLS THE HEARTSTRINGS OF READERS.....
My, what a big heart you have.
When photographer Rich-Joseph Facun and reporter Joanne Kimberlin set out to do a photo essay on Mildred Ruffin's very extended family, they simply saw a good story. Readers saw something else in the Daily Break's Oct. 19 Magazine feature: an opportunity to give.
More than 30 people have called, written or emailed asking how they can help the 73-year-old woman who is taking care of her five great-grandchildren.
Said one reader:
"Stories like this serve to remind us of how lucky most of us are. In that light, my daughter and I would like to help Mildred and her great-grandchildren with an anonymous financial offering."
With many people experiencing economic hardship as never before, the range of response has been nothing short of amazing.
**A Williamsburg couple inquired about providing a Christmas dinner, buying gifts and paying the family's rent for December.
**A 92-year old Virginia Beach woman sent a self-addressed envelope, asking for information so she could make an anonymous contribution to the family.
**Another woman, retired and on a fixed income, asked where she could send food and money.
**One reader said, "i don't have much, but I'm willing to brown bag my lunch for a week or two" to help out Mildred.
**The employees at a local bank branch want to put together a Thanksgiving basket for the family.
**One woman volunteered to care for the children one afternoon a week so Mildred can have some time to herself.
**A Chesapeake department store has contacted Mildred's church and is "sponsoring" the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
**Several people asked how they could send gift cards to the family.
**An officer with a local real estate company heard of the outpouring of support for Mildred's family and wondered if there was a way "to spread it around." She contacted the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services and was given several good candidates.
Mom and Dad
Love one another with brotherly affection--as member of one family--giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Romans 12:10