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
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.