Gluten/Allergen Free Food Drives Count In Shocking Numbers

It can be easy to forget being charitable once the Holiday decorations are packed away and the credit card statements roll in. Even easier, is to forget to give based on the justified fear of not having enough to take care of your own home during tough financial times.

I am the R.O.C.K.(Raising Our Celiac Kids) Charlotte Chapter Event Coordinator but also run an event company that plans Gluten/Allergen Free Expos across the country. It all started with the Charlotte Gluten/Allergen Free Expo and in under 2 weeks, I will be hosting the first one in Houston, Texas. The best part of these events is seeing children get to eat foods that they normally are denied on a regular basis. But as expensive as the gluten/allergen free diet is to achieve for my family, I can only imagine the despair of not being able to place food on my table, much less that the little bit I was able to afford was making my child ill. I remember that feeling well and it isn't a good one.

Part of our Expo event initiatives is to pair with local food banks to set up allergen free sections and stock them to kick start its success. So, I started researching statistics to get a better grasp on the need locally, and the results are shocking.

Houston Texas is the 5th highest in nation for number of children which are food insecure.
1,871,660 children in the Southern 18 counties of Texas including Houston have no idea where their next meal will come from. 437,590  children in Houston, Texas don't have sufficient food in a day.

If 1 in 133 children have celiac disease, then 14,072 of that 1,871,660 children are not only malnutrition-ed already, but are likely not able to afford a $6 loaf of bread.
If 60% of that 1,871,660 have gluten sensitivity, then 1,122,996 are walking around eating and don't have a clue why they feel so badly.
If 1 in 12 children are now afflicted with a food allergy/sensitivity, then 155,971 of 1,871,660 children can not even get much help from their food bank when they have no allergen safe food to give them.
The Houston Food Bank said they had seen a 20% increase in demand for food in 2009 Just imagine the increase in 2011.

We have asked each attendee to the Houston Glutenology Expo on Feb. 4th bring at least one non-perishable gluten/allergen free food to donate to the Houston Food Bank Allergen Free Food Section....Please think of that shocking number of 155,971 children starving, and make sure you donate regularly.

In St. Petersburg Florida, our next event site, Enjoy Life Foods has generously donated food and the update is copied from the Gluten Free For Life Expo hosts, the Gluten Intolerance Support Group of Largo, Florida, and is transcripted here:

Many Families Served and Need to Now Restock 
the Gluten Free Food Pantry


Yesterday I went to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry at Metropolitan Ministries to drop off a lot of Gluten Free Cookies that have been donated by Enjoy Life Foods. Enjoy Life donated boxes of snickerdoodles, apple cookies, lemon cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownie cookies, and their new crispy sugar cookies and crispy honey graham cookies. Thank you so much for your donations Enjoy Life Foods

I discovered that the shelves of the Gluten Free Food Pantry were close to bare. The good news is that many families in need have been able to eat this delicious gluten free food that has been donated! However, it also means that now we need to come together again as a gluten free community to donate and restock the Gluten Free Food Pantry. 

If each member of the gluten free community buys a few extra non-perishable gluten free food items each week to donate to the Gluten Free Food Pantry, we should be able to gather enough food again to help! Please bring food donations to either the Gluten Free For Life Largo Support Group Meeting on Saturday January 28th or the Tampa Celiac Support Group Meeting on Saturday February 11th. I will put all of the donations in a big box and then bring them over to Metropolitan Ministries to restock the shelves on the week after each of these meetings. 

Please help those in need of emergency Gluten Free food by donating these items for a "Gluten Free Everyday Box of Hope":

Gluten Free Cereal
Gluten Free Oatmeal
Gluten Free Canned Fruit
Gluten Free Bread*
Gluten Free Peanut Butter
Gluten Free Jam/Jelly
Gluten Free Soup
Gluten Free Pasta
Gluten Free Tomato Sauce
Gluten Free Canned Vegetables
Gluten Free Rice
Gluten Free Desserts (Gluten Free Cookies, Gluten Free Brownie Mixes, Gluten Free Cake Mixes, etc.)

Thank you for all of your help!

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*Information on our site and shared by members of our support forums is not intended to be medical advice or to replace the relationship between a patient and his/her physician*