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The battle of Man vs. Food is hardly just a highly rated program on the Travel Channel. In a day and age when more and more foods are rife with ingredients that are both dangerous and unhealthy, New York City’s ownFoodFight is taking the battle away from the products themselves and instead is seeking to arm everyone from parents to teachers to children with the ammo needed to make healthier choices. On Thursday evening, the nonprofit organization celebrated their 4th Annual Benefit in unique fashion.

Guests flocked to the West 83rd Street Loft for the three hour event. Appropriately dubbed “Art of Giving,” the evening would host a four artist live ‘battle’ of sorts in the center of the room on large canvases that would be auctioned off later in the evening. As the night progressed, each artist meticulously crafted personalized interpretations related to FoodFight’s focus all while hundreds of guests surrounded them enjoying a selection of tasty cocktails, drinks and catered bites courtesy of Soulfully Good. Meanwhile, a house DJ worked the mix in the background while others took the time to peruse the silent auction items- all in the name of raising more money for FoodFight’s initiatives.

The night’s emcee Sean Bono would eventually welcome FoodFight Co-Founders Carolyn Cohen and Dr. Deborah Lewison-Grant to the center stage, both of whom expressed gratitude for the phenomenal turnout as well as the importance of their cause. Introducing two students whose lives FoodFight has affected was a nice touch as the two teenagers discussed the impact that making healthy choices has had not only on their lives, but also on the health improvements the organization has similarly made in the lives of their families. After the break, the artists would then finish up their depictions before Auctioneer Cate Smit would take over the room to induce some of the evening’s philanthropic guests to open up their wallets a bit more for one of the freshly painted canvases or for one of five live auction package experiences.

In all, the evening raised tens of thousands of dollars for FoodFight’s commendable efforts as well as an increased awareness for the local arts community. Artists Andre Trenier, Zito, Alex Reynoso and Marthalicia(each of whom had a signature cocktail named after for the evening) showed incredible poise by creating such exceptional artwork in as strenuous a timed setting. While we were fortunate to marvel at each artist’s work and at their process, it remained important to focus on FoodFight, whose efforts have reached close to 50 schools, more than 2,700 students and more than 3,000 teachers across seven different cities. Though Cohen and Lewison-Grant’s work is hardly done, every once and a while it’s nice to sit back in rejoice in how far they’ve actually come in such a short period of time. Do yourself a favor and head over to foodfight.org to find out how you can directly impact the lives of the children around you and help prevent the preventable with knowledge.

– Jane Van Arsdale



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