Photography makes a difference: Rich-Joseph Facun’s photographs of Mildred Ruffin and her family

Rich-Joseph Facun - Virginian-Pilot layout of a photo essay on Mildred Ruffin and her extended family

Was just catching up with my RSS feeds and caught a fantastic post by Rich-Joseph Facun about the tremendous outpouring of community support following the publication of some of his photos in the Virginian-Pilot. You can see the layout of the photos by going to Rich-Joseph Facun’s site, and clicking “In Print” under the “Portfolios” menu.

In the post, Rich-Joseph copies an email from his father that contains a follow-up item written by Carl Fincke printed in the Virginian-Pilot.

When photographer Rich-Joseph Facun and reporter Joanne Kimberlin set out to do a photo essay on Mildred Ruffin’s very extended family, they simply saw a good story. Readers saw something else in the Daily Break’s Oct. 19 Magazine feature: an opportunity to give. More than 30 people have called, written or emailed asking how they can help the 73-year-old woman who is taking care of her five great-grandchildren.”

The article then details just what these generous readers did:

  • A Williamsburg couple inquired about providing a Christmas dinner, buying gifts and paying the family’s rent for December.
  • A 92-year old Virginia Beach woman sent a self-addressed envelope, asking for information so she could make an anonymous contribution to the family.
  • Another woman, retired and on a fixed income, asked where she could send food and money.
  • One reader said, “i don’t have much, but I’m willing to brown bag my lunch for a week or two” to help out Mildred.
  • The employees at a local bank branch want to put together a Thanksgiving basket for the family.
  • One woman volunteered to care for the children one afternoon a week so Mildred can have some time to herself.
  • A Chesapeake department store has contacted Mildred’s church and is “sponsoring” the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Several people asked how they could send gift cards to the family.
  • An officer with a local real estate company heard of the outpouring of support for Mildred’s family and wondered if there was a way “to spread it around.” She contacted the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services and was given several good candidates.
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