Expanding Support for Food Allergy Families in Underserved Communities
FARE Teams With Catalyst Missions Group in Newark, N.J., to Identify Local Priorities for Food Allergy Awareness and Training
McLean, Va. (May 6, 2021)– FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research, today announced a partnership with Catalyst Missions Group to engage Black church leaders in the South Ward neighborhood of Newark, N.J., to develop and deploy resources that holistically address food allergy disparities that impact Black families.
“Reliable and affordable access to safe food and quality care is critical for families impacted by food allergies,” said Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer for FARE.” A FARE-funded study found that low-income households managing food allergies in children spend as much as two times more on emergency department and hospitalization costs than food allergy households with higher incomes. Through collaboration with Catalyst Missions Group, FARE is dedicated to working toward building trust with and support for Black and Latino community members with food allergy and providing access to specialty care to improve their quality of life and health.”
The partnership with Catalyst Missions Group, which works hand in hand with African American churches and church denominations/fellowships throughout the U.S., is part of the FARE Community Access Initiative, an effort to identify local priorities for food allergy awareness, training and support in underserved communities. Food allergy is an expensive disease that costs U.S. families more than $25 billion annually while disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and/or low-income communities.
FARE and Catalyst Missions Group will also convene a national advisory council of faith-based leaders to provide critical input into FARE’s work to expand its Community Access Initiative in more BIPOC communities around the country, such as Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia and nearby rural towns.
The FARE Community Access Initiative is part of FARE’s holistic commitment to Access to Care for all. This approach centers around inclusive data, community partnerships, and patient-centered programs at the local, state and national levels to holistically address the systemic factors that make BIPOC and/or low-income people with food allergy more vulnerable to poor outcomes. Through these programs, FARE seeks to address the root causes of these disparities and bridge the care gaps that many in the food allergy community face.
Karen Belton, who serves as Executive Director with Catalyst Missions Group’s African American Church Resource Network said, “The Church has been and continues to be a central part of the social and family aspect for every Black community. If anyone wants to impact our communities for good, local churches are absolutely the place to start. We are excited to partner with FARE to help families in our communities.”
In the United States, 85 million people are impacted by food allergies and intolerances, including 32 million who have a potentially life-threatening condition. Recent studies show that Blacks are disproportionately impacted by food allergies and that the incidence of food allergy among inner-city children is substantially higher than the general U.S. pediatric population. Significant food allergy-related health disparities impact Black and low-income populations, whose members may be at higher risk for accidental ingestion of their problem foods—and life-threatening anaphylaxis—due to limited access to specialized medical care and a lack of available allergen-free foods in local stores.
“Our goal is to improve the quality of life and access to care for all individuals with food allergy, including those from oppressed communities,” said Anita Roach, MS, Vice President, Health Innovation Strategies at FARE. “Faith-based organizations play a key role not only in mobilizing communities but also in keeping community members with conditions like food allergy safe and included. By working directly with these key partners, we can help further identify community priorities and collaborate to make positive, long-lasting change.”
FARE plans to apply successful approaches developed through this partnership to expand access to food allergy services in other communities nationwide.
The partnership with Catalyst Missions Group is the latest effort by FARE to confront racial inequity in food allergy. In February, FARE announced a partnership with South Ward Promise Neighborhood to gather input from community members managing food allergies and work together to identify local priorities for food allergy awareness, training and support programs. Also in February, FARE released “Equity Equals Excellence – A Blueprint for Access,” a comprehensive blueprint to address systemic racial and economic inequity in patient care for those with food allergy.
To learn more about the FARE Community Access Initiative, visit foodallergy.org/cai.
About Catalyst Missions Group
Catalyst Missions Group is a non-profit organization that acts as a resource bridge between organizations and churches. In some cases, resources flow from the churches to the organizations and in other cases the resources flow from the organizations to help the churches. In every case we seek to create opportunities to do more good. In 2020, Catalyst Missions Group launched its African American Church Resource Network. Our objective is very simple. We want to be a “friend” to the African American Church. We want to help these frontline churches do all they can to make a positive impact in their communities.
FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy as well as the largest private funder of food allergy research. FARE’s innovative education, advocacy and research initiatives transform the future of food allergy through new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation, and novel approaches to managing the disease. To learn more, visit: foodallergy.org.