A Texas iSchool student is raising awareness for hunger and food insecurity through an exhibit at the Texas State Capitol.
The exhibit, Client Voices from the Feeding Texas StoryBank, can be found in the capitol building’s Lower Rotunda on Feb. 8-10. It features 19 banners, stories and photography of Texas families who are clients of the nonprofit organization Feeding Texas.
The exhibit was curated and designed by iSchool student and Feeding Texas employee Jessica Crane. She coordinates the statewide StoryBanking initiative, which gathers and shares stories concerning how hunger affects members of a community.
To prepare, Ms. Crane said she spent three weeks driving throughout Texas to photograph the clients of mobile food pantries. She and her colleagues and volunteers later followed up with interviews of the clients.
Feeding Texas has found that 95 percent of its clients have permanent homes, and the majority of clients are employed, yet 78 percent of the people they help admit to buying cheap and unhealthy food in order to save money, Ms. Crane said. More than 40 percent admit to having to water down or stretch food and drinks to avoid hunger, and 71 percent of clients had to choose between food and medicine in the last year.
“While completing this project, I realized how easily someone can find themselves in need of food assistance,” Ms. Crane said. “Hunger and food insecurity are not things that are predictable, and I admire every single person who spoke with me for the courage they have in asking for help.”
Ms. Crane studies user experience and information management at the School of Information. To develop the Feeding Texas exhibit, she said she benefitted from insights from her usability course and design advice from iSchool faculty members.