a note from anthony

"When I arrived in Olympia I was confronted with a massive winter storm that dumped almost 4 inches of rain on the city. It was impossible to be outside without getting soaked, and even the sturdy rain gear that I’d packed was no match for the storm. It was too wet to shoot, so I spent the first two days talking with people, asking them how they were doing and about what they needed. One of the most common requests was so simple, warm dry socks. I immediately purchased a couple of big bags of socks to hand out. One pair for now, and one pair in a ziplock bag for later. The look of joy in someone’s eyes when you tell them that you have something as simple as warm dry socks for them is impossible to describe. 

The other thing that many people spoke to me about was the feeling of being invisible and unwanted, or worse yet, experiencing an active animosity and outright condemnation that included slurs and verbal abuse. They described how difficult it was to break that cycle of shame. To struggle everyday for their basic needs. To have no place to go, not knowing if they would get into a shelter that night or if they’d have to sleep on the street or in the woods. Not knowing if they would be safe. 

Many of the people I spoke with were hardworking people who had run into unfortunate circumstances. Some had jobs and had been actively working to find a home and rebuild their lives. Others struggled with addiction and mental health issues that kept them on the streets. All were human and in need of some compassion and empathy."