If one lives in a position of “having enough,” the idea of not having – food, shelter, clothing, basic needs – is quite uncomfortable. Witnessing poverty in others’ lives can elicit a range of feelings: gratitude for what one has, judgment, sadness, pity, discomfort.
We as humans typically enjoy being in our comfort zones. When something makes us uncomfortable, we try to alter our behavior or situation to feel better. Seeing people living on the street, begging for food or money – perhaps asking us if we can help – seems to make us uncomfortable. And what is the easiest thing to do in this situation to ease our discomfort? We look away.
The documentary Out of Frame gives voice to the people in our society who get pushed to the margins. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, Out of Frame follows four individuals over the course of one year as they each work to overcome their unique situations. Created by Together, Inc. and Surreal Media Lab, the film showcases how the “Three D’s” (disease, disaster, debt) can keep people trapped in poverty. As you’ll see, the people persevere to support the ones they love and avoid homelessness, despite countless setbacks. They don’t expect or demand handouts; they are people yearning for relationships, dignity, and love.
“Love one another as human beings.”
“You have to love on the person to help them change.”
One of our core beliefs at Hunger Free Heartland is that:
“Relationships are the key to creating and sustaining lasting
change in our community.”
How often do we look away from a person in need? How often do we turn a blind eye to exploitation or depravity? Out of Frame seeks to break down stereotypes and connect us to what is often ignored. These people are not “lazy” or “working the system”; they are doing their best in the face of unimaginable circumstances. Those that were able to rise up are seen “giving back” by volunteering or working at community organizations like Together.
We each have a different part to play in the work to end poverty and hunger, and it begins by pulling away the veil and truly seeing our neighbors. We cannot form authentic relationships with each other if we ignore the reality many face. We must become comfortable acknowledging that which makes us uncomfortable and work to see the humanity of those in need.
It takes listening with an open heart and mind; understanding that there are some challenges and situations we will never experience. Without acknowledging the “invisibility” of the working poor, we cannot begin to address the root causes of poverty.
Like this documentary, we must tell the stories of people living in food insecure homes so we can address our own misconceptions and judgments about programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or school breakfast programs. We will not end childhood hunger, or broader issues like poverty, without working together. And above all, we must give love as often and freely as we can. Our world needs it.
Support the work of Together by purchasing Out of Frame here: http://togetheromaha.org/frame-documentary-available/
The documentary is also available for check-out from the Omaha Public Library.