Bigger Families: Relying on Shelters

Platt, Spencer. “Poverty in America: Why Can’t We End It?” New York Times. Nytimes.com, 28 July 2012. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/why-cant-we-end-poverty-in-america.html?pagewanted=all.

This image demonstrates how big families have to rely on food shelters and services that provide for people, in order to support their family.

The image by Spencer Platt, features a family of six, walking through the rural area of Oswego, N.Y. They are coming from a service that provides for families in need. This family is dressed in shorts and t-shirts but two of the children are without shoes. The mother is holding her baby in her arms and the father is holding hands with a child and has four bags in his other hand. The family is walking on a dirt road and it is unsure if they are walking to a car or if they are walking home. They seem to be dressed for the summer time; however, it is hard to tell if these are the nicest clothes. The entire family is holding hands as they walk home from the shelter. In the background of the image, we can see only three cars and a house with a white roof, which is covered by the tall trees.

If we interpret the image, we can see the family of six struggling to support themselves. The two parents have four children who look to be the ages of one, three, and nine. Based on the scenery, it seems to be summer time and the family is making a trip to the shelter all together. Therefore, we can reason that the family cannot afford a babysitter and therefore they all have to go together. Since they are all walking and there are only a few cars in the distance, we can interpret that they might not have a car and they get everywhere by foot. The mother is holding the baby in her arms rather than in a stroller or an arm carrier. The three year old and the nine year old don’t have shoes on and they are walking on a dirt-unpaved road, which might mean that they either left them at home or they don’t have a clean pair of shoes. With such a large family, they only four bags,  that might mean they didn’t get everything they needed at the shelter. This family looks poor however not impoverished because they have clothes.

This family of six looks worn-out and the children seem bored walking back from the shelter. Rather than staying home on a summer day, the entire family makes a trip to the shelter to receive basic essentials. The family looks like they are able to provide basic needs, however, the shelter must provide them with things they aren’t able to afford such as school supplies and extra accessories. This family seems to not live off the bare minimum and the parents must be able to provide somewhat for their family because they are all dressed except for the two children without shoes. There is a very fine line between just making it by with money and having enough of children need to grow up, and this family seems to be making it by just with the help of the shelter.

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