Gluten-free food banks for celiac disease sufferers exist
A recent report from NPR highlighted the problems those with celiac disease often face if they are forced to use a food bank. Many food pantries are not aware of the condition and do not have the items necessary for someone with this disorder. However, there is a movement to change how food banks handle celiac disease sufferers.
The number of people who are using food banks in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. It is estimated that 1 out of 7 people has to use a food bank to provide enough nourishment for their family. The problem is widespread and is visible in every state, but food pantries are facing new concerns from people with health issues such as celiac disease.
Some food pantries are trying to accommodate people on special diets, and they are working to collect, sort and distribute gluten-free items for people with celiac disease. For example, the Foothills Food Bank in Phoenix receives donated gluten-free items and understands the importance of having these options for people. In addition, the Food Bank of WNY in Buffalo tries to educate soup kitchens and pantries about the importance of separating gluten-free items to avoid contamination. Pierce’s Pantry located in Massachusetts has created a special page on its website dedicated to helping people around the nation find emergency gluten-free food assistance.
The growing needs of community members for basic food staples have put a tremendous strain on local pantries. In addition, people who have celiac disease and require assistance are facing the problem of not being able to find items that are gluten-free. Food banks rely on donations, so anyone can help by giving products that are safe for people with celiac disease and encouraging their local pantries to sort gluten-free items for people who truly need them.
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