By Yamini Misra

"It’s hard to think about kids who don't have food to eat."
- Helen Compton, volunteer at EK Powe

And yet, too many children in Durham go without food daily. The lack of food then affects their ability to learn and participate in school. They underperform in school and subsequently lose the opportunity to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

The Backpack program at EK Powe aims to stop just that – the poverty trap that many of these students end up falling into. By supplementing usual school day efforts of free or reduced lunches with a program providing these low-income students with food over the weekend, the Backpack program is a powerful tool in helping to alleviate hunger among school going children and their families. With access to sufficient and nutritious food, these children focus better and hence learn more at school, giving them a real shot at success. To me, this program best highlighted EK Powe’s commitment to its students, and its aim to provide each and everyone of its students equal opportunities to excel.

I've had a most enriching time photographing the Watson family, a member of the EK Powe Backpack program and getting to know the four children. Spending time with them has reminded me of the privileges I take for granted and made me further appreciate the program’s benefits on low-income families. Though the whereabouts of the Watson family are currently unknown, it is my hope that they are safe and happy wherever they might currently be.

I hope that this video inspires people to support such initiatives at their local schools, and to think about the underprivileged every time they sit down to a fine meal.