Celiac.com 02/09/2011 - A new group focused on supporting children with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance will hold its first meeting this month, on February 19th, in Portland, Oregon. G.I.F.T.S. - Gluten Intolerant Families Teamwork & Support (www.gifts-pdx.org) will meet every other month, on the third Saturday, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the home of group moderator Wendy Cohan, RN.

Meeting in a home environment will reduce costs for membership, but also offer the opportunity to hold cooking demonstrations, cupcake decorating contests, and a summer cook-out, all of which are planned for 2011. Each meeting will feature a speaker, with subjects alternating between short health discussions and more kid-friendly holiday themes and cooking and baking with children. Our first speaker will be Krista Anderson-Ross, ND, who will give a short talk on the important topic of "Nutritional Deficits in Children with Celiac Disease", and how best to address them.

We'll follow that up in April with an Easter-themed party with our guest, small business owner of "Fairy Cakes". Our group website: www.gifts-pdx.org is full of information on celiac and gluten related topics, and it includes a bulletin board for sharing tips, recipes, ideas for school lunches and snacks and other parent peer-support ideas. Bring your child, bring your whole family, and help make this group whatever you want it to be.

We have a small advisory committee of health professionals and parents of children with celiac disease, but you are welcome to bring your ideas to the table, literally. We plan to hold social gatherings and restaurant outings in addition to regular meetings. For more information, see the website, or email us: info@gifts-pdx.org.

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