Securing Safe Food: Allergy Awareness Initiative
Founded in March 2020 by members of the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Teen Advisory Group, Securing Safe Food works to increase the food allergic community’s access to allergy-friendly food. By collaborating with food pantries, cafeterias, and eateries across the country, we aim to reduce the challenge of finding allergy-friendly food outside the home. Our three-pronged mission is below.
We work with allergy-friendly and gluten free food manufacturers to supply food pantries with allergy-friendly donations. We partner with these pantries, local nonprofits, and servicing banks to improve accommodations for food allergic individuals.
By partnering with school cafeterias, we aim to make dining facilities easier for food allergic students to navigate. Our cafeteria initiative involves introducing accessible ingredient lists with clearly labeled allergens and manufacturing protocol statements.
Our goal is to collaborate with restaurants across the nation, increasing allergy awareness by educating managers and staff, redesigning menus to highlight major allergens, and creating allergy-friendly systems.
Due to the pandemic, the restaurant and cafeteria initiatives are currently on hold, with our efforts focused on providing food pantries with allergy-friendly non-perishables and refrigerated/frozen goods. During this COVID-19 crisis, consumers with food allergies are increasingly struggling to access safe food. Due to increased food prices online or via delivery services, widespread income loss, and specialty items being depleted in grocery stores, access to safe foods is becoming an increasing concern. Commonly relied upon allergy-friendly staples are often unavailable or inaccessible due to cost.
Currently, we are working with over 20 food pantries, local nonprofits, and servicing banks in Connecticut, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York to provide food insecure individuals and families with allergy-friendly food. To date, we have supplied these pantries with around 8,000 food items from allergy-friendly and/or gluten-free brands, equivalent to approximately 2000 lbs of food. These pantries are ensuring donations will be segregated and reserved for those with food allergies or celiac disease.
If you are a food pantry in need of allergy-friendly donations or a company interested in donating product, please contact Rachel Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in making a donation or learning more about our initiative, please visit our website.
TAG Members: Rachel Brooks, Lizzy Anderlik, Fahran Bajaj, Rylee Christian, Gabriella DiGiovanni, Sydney Hankin, Sara Hantgan, Danielle Huli, Suraj Kalaria, Jacqueline See-Tho