*Debbie Dujanovic Reporting*Shoes can be dropped off at Trade Printing care of Brooks Dame, at 2530 S. West Temple. Or you can email Dame at email@example.com.
It's a story so heartbreaking it's turned one man's dream into a drive for help. A Utah photographer took his plans for a documentary into the dumps deep in El Salvador. What he saw through the view finder broke his heart -- the faces of the children.
When 25-year old Brooks Dame moved his eye off the viewfinder, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. So desperate for food and money, the children were digging in the dump.
They are the young faces of poverty, children in El Salvador, living and eating out of landfills.
The plight of one four-year old boy gets to the heart of the story 25-year old Brooks Dame set out to tell.
Brooks Dame, Documentary Filmmaker: “He basically finds chicken and has it in the bag. He’s eating chicken he found in the trash. It’s fried chicken and he loves it.”
It's all he knows. Civil War and earthquakes have forced thousands of families into the landfills to survive.
Brooks Dame: "The smell actually gets you to the point where you want to throw up."
They live in nearby shacks, eat the food they find, and hunt for trash they can recycle -- it earns them a dollar a day.
Brooks Dame: "When you think about a dollar a day, and they're eating food they've found in the dumps, in the trash."
Dame spent more than a hundred and fifty hours in the landfills this summer. After two years in El Salvador as a missionary, he felt compelled to return to capture the story for a documentary. But one moment shifted his focus.
Brooks Dame: "The first day we went in there was a kid who pulled out an American flag. It made me feel we have so much to give and so much to offer."
Before he left the landfill, Dame asked how he could help. They handed him a stack of papers.
Brooks Dame: "Each one is one child."
They are outlines of the children's feet. The children need shoes, they begged, most don't have shoes.
Brooks Dame: "When it comes down to it, if you can help one person, one family, at least you've done something."
While editing his documentary for film festivals, Dame is starting a campaign in Salt Lake to collect shoes, new or used. He wants tennis shoes because children who work in the landfills get a lot of deep cuts on their feet.
Shoes can be dropped off at Trade Printing care of Brooks Dame, at 2530 S. West Temple. Or you can email Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org.