Decatur photographer Tom England has been offering free children’s photos to homeless families since 2006, said Tyese Lawyer, Our House executive director.
England and his wife Nancy live in the neighborhood and were inspired by the center’s work. He said a photo assignment brought him to the center years ago and he and his wife initially became involved with taking pictures of the children with Santa around the holidays. England credits his wife for coming up with the idea to offer photo portraits free of charge to the children in the center’s early education program. The children’s ages range from 6 weeks to 5 years, Lawyer said.
“The faces of the kids are just great,” England said. “I enjoy it.”
Lawyer explained it is important for families to be able to document their children’s growth through photos. The parents really appreciate getting the portraits, she said.
“I visit family and friends and I see the great portraits that they’ve gone and spent hundreds of dollars on each holiday season and … families who are experiencing homelessness, that’s not something that they have the luxury of indulging in,” she added.
This year’s photo session at the center took place last week. England said he provides each family with a 4 x 6 print in a holiday frame.
In addition to the portraits, Lawyer said England helps Our House by taking candid shots of the children and the center’s work to be used for promotional items targeted to potential donors. She added England’s wife sits on the organizing committee for the center’s annual fundraising gala.
“Our House is happy to have wonderful supporters like Tom and Nancy to help us do the work that we do,” Lawyer said.
This year’s gala in March will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Our House.