A TABLE FOR ONE: Thanksgiving when you don't have food
As everyone left the city to spend the day with their families, Thanksgiving became lonely. The subway was empty, the streets were too. Even for people lacking personal attachment to the holiday, it struck as heartbreaking that others, too, were spending the day with themselves. Diners and fast food joints were filled with people using only one seat.
In crowded cities, it's a day that can be defined by absolute unity or oblivion, depending on where you stand.
At the Brentwood train station, a homeless man in his thirties asked for a cigarette. Baring the holiday, a usual 'no' turned to a 'yes'. He lit the cigarette and went on to tell his story: "I'm just out of jail, after 16 months. I have nothing on me." With nowhere to go and no one waiting for him, he smiled and took a pause. "I'm just glad I'm free."
The original question was if the people who attended were grateful for something. The answers were short and took time to answer. A lot of the people said they didn't want their picture taken because they were dirty, or were having a bad day. The series is originally looked to explore the spirit of gratefulness, but it soon became obvious that loneliness prevailed in many ways. The following portraits were taken at two pantry shops in New York on Thanksgiving day. One in Brentwood, Long Island, held by Feed the Need which provided food or clothing to 2,500 people, according to Deborah Kirnon, one of the organizers. The second one was in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, a Thanksgiving dinner at Maranatha 7th Day Adventist Church, which gave food to dozens of neighbours and passersby. In New York State, one out of seven people struggle with hunger.
Thanksgiving is a tradition devoted to appreciation, recognition and sharing.
It is also a story about the most vulnerable.