Monday, November 26, 2012

Donate Allergy-Free Food to Food Drives

by Kelley Lindberg

We’re in peak food drive season now. As if winter wasn’t hard enough on low-income folks, the holidays are upon us, and that makes expectations higher and losses more poignant.

Chances are good you’ll be noticing more food drive requests in the coming days. Everyone wants to help, from Eagle Scouts to grocery stores, from work colleagues to holiday concerts. It’s a wonderful time to stop and think about the blessings we have in our lives, and to share those blessings with others.

As you root through your pantry for non-perishable food items to donate to the food drives in your area, it’s a great time to think about the food-allergic people who will be gathering up the courage to ask for food at the various shelters and service organizations. For example, food drive sponsors always specifically ask for things like peanut butter and other high-protein foods. But if you have a child who’s allergic to peanuts, that becomes a problem when you ask for help.

So I like to stock up with a few jars of Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds -- a great-tasting substitute for peanut butter), Cascadian Farms Harvest Berry granola bars, and other allergy-free food products to put into those food drive bins.

Experts estimate that 1 out of every 12 kids now has a severe food allergy, so that means a lot of families are in need of food-allergy-friendly foods at our food banks. It’s a safe assumption that most non-allergic people won’t realize how important allergy-free foods are when they donate food, so it’s up to us in the food-allergy community to remember our own members in need.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, throw an extra jar or two of Sunbutter in your cart, then drop it in the nearest food drive bin. You’ll be helping to brighten a dark winter day for a hungry family. And a desperate mother somewhere will be forever grateful.


Scherbel Family said...

Thank you for this post! Its a great reminder. I had the opportunity to drop off food from a local food drive. I was so humbled to see the people there picking up food. As you wrote, 'desperate' is about the best description there is.

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

Thank you! And thanks for being the better part of someone else's day. It means so much to so many!