15 Women Document What It's Like To Be Hungry In Powerful Photo Project

02/28/2014 09:43 am ET | Updated Feb 28, 2014

In 2012, Robin Dickinson's life took a terrible turn.

She went from being a happily married mom and physician, to having two strokes in quick succession and was forced to give up her job in order to recover fully, PBS reports.

According to Hunger Free Colorado, more than 840,000 Coloradans struggled to put food on the table in 2012. Suddenly, Dickinson and her family were part of that statistic.

"We were down to the point where we were eating potatoes, and oatmeal, and rice," Dickinson told PBS. "And one night, it suddenly occurred to me ... we qualify for assistance. There's a safety net there for a reason -- it's for people in our situation."

Dickinson was approved for the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which provides food relief to millions of low-income families. She said she'll never forget how excited she and her children were to go grocery shopping for the first time after receiving the assistance.

Dealing with hunger head-on was a transformative experience for Dickinson, and it inspired her to join her state's leading anti-hunger organization, Hunger Free Colorado. The group provides cameras to recipients of SNAP benefits and encourages them to participate in "Hunger Through My Lens"-- a project which documents how it feels to be hungry.

An exhibit, showcasing the photographs of 15 women, is traveling around Denver and stopped at the Colorado State Capitol building earlier this month in the hopes of exposing the realities of hunger to state legislators.

Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado, believes the photographs in "Hunger Through My Lens" helps validate the urgency of the issue.

"Their photographs and stories provide tangible evidence that there's a need to face the impacts of hunger on individuals, families and communities throughout Colorado," she told KUSA-TV. "It's time we change how we view and understand not only the issue of hunger but who should be included in working towards solutions that can ensure no Coloradan has to worry about when and where they will get their next meal."

According to the New York Times, $8 billion will be slashed from food stamps over the next 10 years due to the new farm bill, but Colorado will avoid the brunt. Cuts will be made to states with "Heat and Eat" policies, which coordinate SNAP and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance so impoverished families don't have to choose between food and energy, according to the Denver Post. Because Colorado is not one of the 17 states with a "Heat and Eat" policy, those cuts won't affect its families.

Take a look at a few of the "Hunger Through My Lens" photos below, and visit the project's website for more information.

Hunger Through My Lens' Tackles Poverty In A Different Way
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