Kathleen Martin, a photographer based in Mooresville, was browsing Facebook one day when something came to her attention.
She saw a post from The Front Steps Project, an initiative that began in Needham, Massachusetts by two local photographers there, Cara Soulia and Kristen Collins.
The project consists of taking professional photographs of a family on their front steps. The family is then asked to donate to a local charity.
Martin’s photography company LKN Images has lost business recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the business specializes in high school senior photography, family portraits as well as team and individual sports photography.
After seeing the Facebook post, Kathleen and her husband Ed decided to implement The Front Steps Project in their own community.
“We’re not people who sit down and do nothing,” Martin said. “This is something we could do.”
They started the project in the Mooresville area on March 25, and more than 1,000 families signed up. As of Monday, they’ve taken pictures of more than 700 families on their front steps and raised more than $36,000 for FeedNC, a local nonprofit that feeds families in need in the Mooresville area.
This is the second largest set of donations worldwide through The Front Steps Project, surpassed only by the founders in Massachusetts.
On Tuesday, Kathleen Martin took photographs of Lake Norman Regional Medical Center staff outside the building. Dr. Ed Hartle, a pathologist at LNRMC, presented a $10,000 check to FeedNC, making it a total of $46,000 raised by the Martins for FeedNC.
“It will have a very significant impact,” said Lara Ingram, FeedNC executive director, who accepted the check.
Ingram said that FeedNC has seen a 164% increase in demand in the last two months, feeding more than 1,000 people a week.
She said the money will allow them to purchase boxes and bags for delivering food and masks and gloves for distribution.
Ingram said that these are new expenses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ingram said that the demand in services will not go down as the economy starts to reopen.
She said FeedNC needs volunteers and food donations, specifically canned goods and vegetables.
As for the Martins, Kathleen said that she and her husband are beginning their own initiative called LKN Outfront.
This will consist of the Martins taking photographs of business owners outside their business.
The initiative is meant to personify the business through their owner and to show how these businesses will operate during the pandemic.
“It’s now time to start talking about businesses as people step off their front porch,” Kathleen Martin said.
More information about LKN Images and their implementation of the The Front Steps Project can be found at https://lknimages.com/.