Hair combs, cases of multi-colored and glittery eye shadows, hairspray bottles and hand mirrors were strewn across folding tables in a small room at the Salvation Army Center of Hope early Saturday.
From 8:30 a.m. to late evening, volunteers styled hair, applied makeup, then shot family portraits of the centers residents for free. For many at the womens and childrens shelter, the photos were the first professional family portraits they have ever taken, said Jackie Trail, volunteer associate at the center.
This is special for them to be able to remember the holidays, Trail said. They get a moment to feel beautiful and proud.
The Center of Hope, on Spratt Street near uptown, is home to more than 375 women and children, Trail said. This is the fourth time the center has hosted the photography event, and it served more than 70 families this year.
A local chapter of Help Portrait provided the volunteer photographers to take portraits. The national group unites local photographers and uses their skills to give back to communities.
Terie Christmas Davis, co-leader of the local chapter of Help Portrait, helped organize this years event.
It has been something we can do to help our community as photographers, Davis said. You get back more than you could ever give from this experience.
Resident Shanita Marina, 23, waited patiently in the makeup room before her portrait. Marina and her two young children, a boy and a girl, have lived at the Center of Hope for five months.
We dont have a professional photo of us, Marina said. Were always snapping photos of us in the bathroom mirror .
A Center of Hope resident who didnt want to give her name said she is working to earn her degree and find a stable job. The single mother and her two boys are in the shelter for a second stint. She came to the center last year after enduring domestic violence.
This has been my support system, she said. My family turned their back on me when we had nowhere to go.
The woman said she planned to take tips from photographers at Saturdays event because her passion is photography. She is attending the Art Institute of Charlotte and hopes to become a photojournalist.
Volunteer Kim Kiser of Charlotte said she understands the struggles of being a single mother. For 18 years, she said she raised three children on her own.
Kiser hopes the photography event shows single mothers in the shelter that they are beautiful and worthy, she said, crying. They are not abandoned, and they are never forgotten.