East Bay man's pandemic portraits projects helps feed the hungry

An East Bay man created what he calls pandemic portraits as a way to help others during the pandemic.

The project encourages people to donate to a non-profit that feeds the hungry.

Craig Isaacs of Lafayette says the project t not only helped keep the food flowing, it helped him too.

He is using his passion for photography to lift up those less fortunate than himself, "Having neighbors go hungry was just killing me. I just felt that I had to help with that.

Since April of last year, the former tech chief executive officer has taken complimentary photos of families who've donated money to Monument Crisis Center, a nonprofit in Concord.

The partnership is Isaac's Pandemic Porch Portraits Project.

On Thursday afternoon, he took photos of the Dixon Hall family.  They are among the 350 who've participated.

"It was a way to have fun as a family, give back to the community," says Grace Dixon whose family has participated in the project twice.  The first time was at the start of the pandemic and now.

 To date, Isaacs says he's taken 5,000 photos.

He says word of mouth and social media led to donations totaling $104,000 so far; the average donation $255.

"Experience joy during the pandemic," Isaacs says, "I can get slivers of joy" in the families who donated and the ones being helped.

Monument Crisis Center says the number of people needing help tripled from 10,000 to 28-thousand during the pandemic.

"The food was barely getting in here before it was being bagged and going out the door again," says Sandra Scherer, executive director of Monument Crisis Center.

She says Isaacs helped the center meet demand, "That project really represented what people can do when they put their mind to it."

Isaacs say working with families who donated helped him survive the pandemic, "See how they behave with each other. There's an incredible amount of love out there in giving."

He says he plans to wrap up the portrait project by the end of July and use photography to help other nonprofits.

Monument Crisis Center says thanks to donations, it  did not have to turn anyone away during the pandemic.

For more information about the Pandemic Porch Portraits Project, email Craig Isaacs: craig@bluegoo.com