Project to help celiacs afford gluten-free food. Photo: CC-Kent Wang
Celiac.com 01/20/2011 - Over his five years as a participant in Project Bread’s annual Walk for Hunger, 16-year-old high school sophomore, Pierce Keegan came to realize that more needed to be done to supply gluten-free food to people in need.

“When I was doing the Walk for Hunger, I suddenly thought, ‘What if I needed food? Would I be able to get gluten-free products if I couldn’t afford them?’’’

Inspired by his success in raising nearly $5,000 for Project Bread, Keegan founded Pierce’s Pantry to supply gluten-free food to people who need food, and need that food to be gluten-free.

Pierce's Pantry officially launched on January 1st, 2011, and  collects and distributes gluten-free products to local food pantries. Keegan has so far received donations from 12 food manufacturers, and collected nearly 800 pounds of gluten-free food.

The Acton Food Pantry in Boxborough is the first food service to make Keegan’s gluten-free products available to clients, and has also agreed to provide emergency bags of gluten-free food for those in need.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to eat and have access to gluten-free food,’’ said Keegan, “but there are many celiacs out there who can’t afford it, and have to make choices between either eating unsafe foods or not eating at all.’’

Keegan wants to eventually expand Pierce’s Pantry nationwide, and eventually to accommodate other food allergies.

’“The Acton Food Pantry told me about this woman they gave a whole bag of gluten-free products to and the woman started crying,’’ said Keegan. “It showed me that this could really make a difference, after hearing how just one bag of food changed another person’s life so drastically.’’

Read more or donate to Pierce's Pantry.

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