CHI is releasing its 10th anniversary commemorative photo book, “Colorado: A Picture of Health” on Thursday. I traveled across the state, taking pictures of Coloradans on the front lines of health care. The goal was to show the faces, and tell the stories, of people affected by health policy decisions.
During the lead-up to Thursday’s release, we will provide brief snapshots of the stories in the book.
Today, meet Sharon Barber, right, who in 2003 started the nonprofit Las Animas Helping Hands to help combat the staggering poverty in Bent County, where nearly a quarter of the 6,500 residents live below the federal poverty level.
“Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the poverty here,” Barber told me. “It’s hard to express how hard it is to live in poverty in southeast Colorado.”
Barber routinely drives people to medical appointments, pays for prescription medications, delivers fresh food to people's doorsteps and arranges financial assistance for utility bills. One resident of Las Animas told me that while Barber receives some funding through grants and donations, she often uses her own money when funds are low.
"I get paid in hugs," Barber said.