I first met Tin Aye and her husband Aun Kyaw Toe back in my days of working at a refugee resettlement agency in Denver. I was one of the first Americans they met in Colorado and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I started photographing Tin Aye and Aung in early March of 2020 as they began stockpiling food, mainly rice, in preparation for the coming pandemic. At the time I had no way of knowing Tin Aye would eventually contract COVID19 and die from complications of the virus.The story became about food, faith and family as I questioned if essential also means sacrificial. Tin Aye, worked at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, CO until she contracted covid after meatpacking plants were ordered to stay open to protect the nation's food supply. A day after Tin Aye was admitted to the hospital, her daughter, San Twin, checked into a different hospital but not because she was sick. San Twin was about to give birth to Tin Aye’s first grandchild, whom unfortunately Tin Aye would never meet. By the end of May 2020, more than 16,200 workers in meat and poultry processing plants in 23 states across the U.S had contracted COVID-19 and 86 had died.


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