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    Posted February 26, 2014 by
    pensacola, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Behind the scenes with Appetite 4 ART


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Small business owner and photographer JamesAmerson is a long-time supporter of Appetite 4 Life, a non-profit organization based in Pensacola, Florida, that prepares and delivers meals to men, women and children in need. He helped conceive a community art project called Appetite 4 ART, which aims to address poverty and hunger by combining images of iconic films, operas and musicals with food. According to Celeste Southard, the Executive Director of Appetite 4 Life, the organization wanted to find a fresh, new way to start a dialogue about the prominence of poverty and hunger in the community. "We wanted something new, edgy and would hopefully get people talking about the issue,” Southard said.

    Amerson said that these photos of models dressed as characters from Lewis Caroll's "Alice and Wonderland" address "hunger by introducing the topic of A4L and their efforts to feed community individuals in need. So far, it has been an effective tool. Many people have already learned about Appetite 4 ART from our Facebook page and some local media coverage. Using the theme of cinema and theater, the Mad Hatter's tea party has food embedded in the photo with a twist of creative imagery." He hoped the photo would get people to ask "why" and "how" hunger is being addressed, here. He wanted to "get the viewer to stop and take a second, deeper look to connect the purpose behind the photo."
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    Appetite 4 Life in Pensacola, Fla. is working to shine the light on hunger in Escambia County, through a community art project named Appetite 4 ART. Conceptualized by James Amerson, a long-time friend and supporter, a team of local photographers, volunteer models and funded through a grant received from The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, this unique collection of images will be displayed on the outside of A4L's building for public viewing. Soon after, the collection will travel to local galleries which will allow the viewer a more intimate experience.
    Appetite 4 Life is taking to task poverty and hunger in a very different way. “We hope that by portraying popular iconic movies, operas and musicals and combining it with food, it will encourage people to ask questions and open the door for dialog about the hunger and poverty problem in our community,” said Celeste Southard, Executive Director of Appetite 4 Life.
    According to Southard the organization did not want to use the normal images associated with poverty to get their message across. “We wanted something new, edgy and would hopefully get people talking about the issue,” Southard said.
    Appetite 4 Life is non-profit organization that has several programs to help combat hunger in Escambia County, Fla. A4L delivered its first meals in 1997 to people that were in the latter stages of AIDS. Today, A4L has grown and expanded its mission to include other life threatening illnesses like cancer, as well the aged and disabled communities.
    As a part of its expansion A4L has added programs including a Food Pantry and mobile food pantries, Child Nutrition Program and HIV Prevention/Testing. The Child Nutrition Program provides breakfast, lunch and snack during the summer to children that receive Free and Reduced-price meals during the school year. The HIV Prevention program uses groceries as an incentive to get people in the facility and tested. On August 18, 2011 Appetite 4 Life experienced a devastating fire that burned the kitchen to the ground. Despite this tragedy not a single meal missed delivery nor any of the programs closed. In fact fire trucks had to be moved so the vans and trailers could run the deliveries to the sites in the Child Nutrition Program. Even the two catered wedding receptions that weekend were still served. The community came to their rescue and the Escambia County School Board provided a closed school for them to cook out of for almost two years while the commercial kitchen and administration was being rebuilt.
    A4L doesn’t receive government funding, all of these efforts are supported through earned income from catering, community donations, and HIV/AIDS funding organizations.


    To learn more about A4L, please visit appetite4life.org.

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