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Charlotte Moss Celebrates Home—and the Good We Can Do Together

Inspired by Edith Wharton’s literary fundraising effort for refugees and children during WWI, Charlotte Moss’s latest book brings together 125 luminaries of our times to explore the meaning of home and support a greater cause, No Kid Hungry
book cover: Home: A Celebration, edited by Charlotte Moss, in collaboration with No Kid Hungry (Rizzoli New York, 2021)
HOME: A Celebration, edited by Charlotte Moss (Rizzoli, 2021), features cover art by Pamela Jaccarino.

Flower: Tell us about your latest book project, Home: A Celebration.

Charlotte Moss: HOME represents the voices of 125 artists, poets, writers, editors, designers, and philanthropists. Each person shared the meaning of home through the lens of their craft. Together, their creative contributions support a greater cause: raising money to help feed children in our country through No Kid Hungry.

Designed by American architect A. J. Davis, a quaint 19th-century Gothic Revival schoolhouse-turned-residence in Rhinebeck, New York, embodies what home means to photographer and author Pieter Estersohn.

Where did you get the idea to create a fundraiser like this?

I’ve joked that the Edith Wharton book, The Book of the Homeless, has been “vibrating” on my bookshelf for a while. I have always thought it would be a great vehicle for a fundraiser. When Covid hit and the news was covering the number of food lines and how long they were, as well as how unemployment was rapidly rising and school closures meant some children would not get the nourishment of a day’s meal, I knew it was the right time. Never in my lifetime have we experienced what we have been going through.

I remember sitting with my husband and telling him about my idea to clone Edith Warton’s concept by reaching out to others to create a book. He responded, “If you feel like you need to do it, then you must do it.” And the next morning I started making calls. My amazing publisher, Rizzoli, was one of the first calls, and they were 100 percent on board.

Deco Vase of Roses (Edith Wharton), 2020. Gouache on Arches Paper
Charles Dare Scheips portrayed his vision of home in a painting. Note his homage to Wharton’s Book of the Homeless (1916), which similarly brought together many creative contibutors to raise funds to aid refugees and children during World War I. Deco Vase of Roses (Edith Wharton), 2020. Gouache on Arches Paper.

How did you decide to partner with No Kid Hungry?

Early on in the pandemic, I saw a statistic that one in six children in the United States is food insecure. Repeat that to yourself. One in six! That is a staggering statistic! It moved me to do two Instagram challenges, and we quickly raised $150,000. I thought, if we could raise that much money on Instagram, what could we really do if we launched a campaign?

I started reading more about No Kid Hungry. The more I learned about their community engagement around the country, the more I was moved to help. What appealed to me is how they reach so many communities by working with local organizations. It is a vast network of engagement. They were enthusiastic about the idea and have been a partner throughout the entire project.

Julia Reed, the much-beloved author who passed away in 2020, wrote of her home in the Mississippi Delta. Photo by Paul Costello

What did you learn in the process about HOME and the contributors?

Seeing HOME through everyone else’s eyes, their personal and often poignant interpretations, really struck me. There was such diversity in the contributions—some humorous, some anecdotal.

A silver basket in artist Clare Potter’s library holds a collection of her work, exquisite ceramic interpretations of flowers and fruits. Her art, she muses, is “meant to give a sense of joy in something else—something special and amusing, unique and handmade that can add to a person’s home.”

What was the greatest joy in the process?

Getting 125 people to say YES! This was a call to action, and everyone answered with such enthusiasm. I think that’s really what got this project done in the end. We were greeted with such optimism at every turn, and I think it shows in the pages of this book. The parent organization of No Kid Hungry is Share Our Strength—and that, in fact, is what everyone did. They shared their strengths, their visions, their soul.

“A home is the most personal of things. It protects and comforts us. The best ones stimulate us creatively,” writes photographer William Abranowicz, who captured this image in the home of stylist Jeffrey Miller.

To donate to No Kid Hungry, visit nokidhungry.org

Photography and art from HOME: A Celebration, edited by Charlotte Moss (Rizzoli, 2021), republished with permission.