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Tools for Schools (part 2) Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wells Fargo employees distribute bags of school supplies to students Sept. 5 at Whitman Elementary School in Portland. With the help of their sponsors, Schoolhouse Supplies gave out 9,200 backpacks to kids in Portland this year.

I meant to post these images a while ago, but they slipped under the radar. These are the follow-up to my earlier post about packing the bags.

Compared to the packing assignment, where a group of adults are bent over a table in a dark room, I figured that this assignment would be a piece of cake—I think "shooting fish in a barrel" was the phrase I used at the time. Kids getting presents ... how hard can that be?

Boy, was I wrong. The kids were great, it was everything else. First of all, it was darker than hell in there. I think I've been in mine shafts with more light.* Then, after a short "welcome back to school" assembly, they had the kids leave the cafeteria through twin lines at two different exits ... so I had to shoot in two different places. Which wouldn't be bad if the whole process lasted more than 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

The real challenge, though, was getting a shot of the actual handover of the bags. The kids had great expressions on their faces. But naturally the exit area got kind of backed up, so those that had just received their pack were directly in front of those about to receive it. The volunteers, trying to distribute the bags, kept reaching farther and farther back in the line. Worse were the teachers, who seemed to get directly in between me and the distribution point (e.g. at right—the pink hand is a Wells Fargo volunteer, the blue shirt is a teacher).

I got exactly one good handover shot, where you can see the kid's smiling face, the giver's smiling face, and the backpack ... but it turned out to be a teacher giving the pack, which doesn't tell the story of Wells Fargo employees volunteering!

I think this (left) is my favorite shot from the day. I overexposed it a bit, but it is a good, generic image that Schoolhouse Supplies can use.

*Yes, I have actually been in several mine shafts.