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Local Photographers Give A Holiday Gift Worth A Thousand Words

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Saturday is the second annual "Help Portrait Day" -- a day where photographers take portraits of people and families who can't afford professional pictures for free.

Sandra Merriman and her family will participate in the event. She lives with her son, daughter, and two grandchildren in the Franconia area. For the past two years she's has relied on the nonprofit emergency assistance Koinonia Foundation for food and support.

"I am on a fixed income. My son, unfortunately, is unemployed, so that's another...boundary that we have to hurdle every day," Merriman says.

She says for as long as she can remember, a real family photo has seemed extravagant.

So when she found out that Koinonia was partnering with a group of local photographers who wanted to donate their time and skills to take free professional portraits, she didn't hesitate to sign up.

"I've never had a picture like this," she says.

Merriman smiles as she fluffs the new hairdo she's sporting for Saturday's big shoot. But as she continues talking about it, it's clear that the free photo will mean more to her than just a pretty picture.

"We can't do that for ourselves, and...to have all my family together where I can see them all the time up on my wall, that's fantastic," Merriman says.

A spokeperson for Koinonia says they've signed up more than 80 families for portraits.

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