Project Downtown is a wonderful little program that MSA National started promoting a few years ago. The basic idea is to have students gather together in areas that have a strong need for community service, especially with distribution of food. VCU’s MSA started a Project Downtown chapter in downtown Richmond, where they would feed an average of 40-50 individuals in need every Friday afternoon in Monroe Park. This was a great initiative for the community and for the students. I liked to go and take pictures of everyone each week, as a practice to help improve my photography and to document the work that was being done by the community. Here are some of my favorite pictures from PD.
Uzair finishes up some cupcakes made by one of the volunteers, while Oat stands behind him and works on a few of hiw own. Monroe Park is full of trees that shed their leaves in the fall season, covering the ground with this beautiful golden layer. There’s usually always an excess of food, and the volunteers are always happy to offer their services in helping finish the leftovers…
I snapped a picture of Jamal while he was protesting me taking his picture. Sorry, buddy.
Tayeeb sportin some slick shades in the park. Too bad we’re already standing in the shade…
In one of the most historic parts of the city, Sarwar stands at the edge of the park, in front of a cathedral and the Landmark Theatre.
Weekly PD gatherings became a social occasion for the MSA at VCU. So much so, that the leaders of the organization, like president Zaynah (right), would often have to come to the park during PD to find members she needed to contact for various reasons. Here, she speaks with Saba, who was responsible for arranging the iftars for the month of Ramadan for the MSA that year.
Muhammad heads out after one of the PD days in Monroe Park. Behind him, a group of MSA girls is still gathered and continues to socialize after the work is all done. On his way out, he passes under trees that have shed their leaves, covering the ground along his exit with a colorful arrangement.
Shortly after Eid, Zakia stands in the park after PD with henna on her hands. Girls will typically have their hands decorated in celebration of this holiday.
The group gave each volunteer nametags to help them better interact with the individuals they distributed food too. Someone played a prank on Sarwar and wrote up a classic nickname instead.