Capturing Memories in Quarantine: Front Steps Project in Myrtle Beach raises money for local charities

Guyton Family Front Steps Portrait

Quarantine has forced us to cancel sports practices. Music lessons. SCHOOL. The busy life parents used to know, shuffling kids from school to extracurriculars, has been paused. We’re home. Working, homeschooling, and experiencing life without appointments. We’re all wondering: what is everyone else doing? When will this end?

No one can answer when this will end. We can turn to social media to see what everyone else is doing: you’ve probably seen photos of families on their front porches on your Facebook & instagram.

These pictures are so much more than just a simple family portrait. Most family pictures are orchestrated for the purpose of a Christmas card or a frame. These quarantine life portraits carry more meaning, and a little more depth. It’s a time capsule. It’s a memory. It’s a little bit haunting, and also cheerful, and definitely relatable.

And each portrait is part of a bigger picture: the Front Steps Project.

The Front Steps Project started in Boston by photographers Cara Soulja and Kristen Collins on St. Patrick’s Day. The movement spread quickly (intentionally avoiding using the word viral here…)

Local photographer joins the Front Steps Project movement

Brooke Christl

Myrtle Beach photographer Brooke Christl has been making the rounds to front porches, capturing families, and raising money for local charities.

She shared, “So far I have photographed 66 families.  It started off as a pay it forward kind of thing as most of the families have local business and I know they are hurting.  As it got more organized, I had a neighborhood coordinator that would help me set everything up and I let them choose a charity of choice.”

So far, the project has raised approximately $750 for Meals on Wheels, $1,000 for Backpack Buddies, and $2,595 for Help 4 Kids. WOW. Just wow. She has made – and will continue to make – an impact on families who need our support the most right now.

She plans to keep raising money through the project. She said, “Tonight, I will be photographing the staff of Hot Fish Club and Community of Wachesaw (about 10 families) and the charity that they will be donating to is Help 4 Kids as well.”

Quarantine life in a snapshot

Local mom and business owner Kristy Guyton jumped at the chance to make a donation and have her family portrait captured in front of their home. The family portrait captures their quarantine life: kids with their favorite activities, mom and dad on laptops fueled by coffee, and their two dogs. Imagine that in motion!

She and her husband, Preston, are running two businesses from home – Revolution Mortgage and CRG Companies – surrounded by three kids and two dogs. Sounds a little chaotic, right? Despite the craziness, she remains calm through routine.

“With so much uncertainty and fear in the world right now, we are trying to focus on the positive, what we are grateful for, and finding the blessings in each day,” Kristy said. Two of the kids have learned how to ride bikes. The family has a daily Bible devotional time. They have finished projects. She acknowledges the days can be challenging, but concludes,“One of the biggest blessings that has come from the chaos is the the time that we get to spend together as a family.”

About Help 4 Kids / Backpack Buddies

Help4Kids / Backpack Buddies mission is to provide food for hungry kids of Horry County. During the regular school year, the organization provides food for kids to take home on the weekend, clothes, books, and other necessities. Kids receive blankets and sleeping bags to stay warm. At the beginning of the school year, kids receive a backpack filled with school supplies. It is run by volunteers and relies on donations from the community – and all money goes straight to the kids.

About Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels of Horry County mission statement is, “Meals on Wheels of Horry County, Inc. glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ by providing home-delivered meals and fellowship to the homebound, elderly, and frail of Horry County.”


Get in touch

Support Brooke’s efforts by liking her social media pages, writing her an encouraging comment, or calling her to coordinate your own photo shoot! Thanks for all you’re doing to make our community a better place, Brooke ❤️

Brooke Christl Photography

Get in touch with Brooke Christl to coordinate a neighborhood front steps project photo shoot!

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