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Teen Supplies Gluten-free Food to Folks in Need


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.

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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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6 Responses:

 
Nicole
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
24 Jan 2011 5:22:26 AM PDT
What a great story! My kids are young (oldest is almost 6) and we've traditionally bought extra food for our local food pantry when we shop so the kids can donate it. Now that they've been diagnosed with celiac, we're making up gluten-free and allergen-free bags to donate.

 
ib ib
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said this on
24 Jan 2011 9:04:04 AM PDT
Excellent!!! Exactly what's needed!

 
Joanna
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
24 Jan 2011 10:12:35 AM PDT
I too have wondered what I would do if I were in need and had no realistic access to gluten free food. I wish Pierce success in expanding his pantry nationwide. Bravo!

 
Alison Curphey
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
24 Jan 2011 11:25:26 AM PDT
I am so happy that you wrote about Pierce's Pantry. What an incredible effort by an incredible young man. I can't imagine having to choose between my health and hunger.

I've contacted my local food pantry to see if they would be interested in carrying gluten free food for their clients. I wouldn't have known that this resource existed unless this article had appeared, so thanks again!

 
Vicki
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said this on
24 Jan 2011 11:52:38 AM PDT
This is very inspiring, the Gluten-Free breads and other foods can be expensive, and people on tight budgets will just go without, or eat whatever they can.

 
Louisa
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said this on
30 Jan 2011 7:19:23 AM PDT
How terrific! I am inspired!




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Ditto. However, this is what I can never understand about gluten free food. (see the bold bits which I've taken from the article) "We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten. Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more,? I wonder why what so much of what I eat that's gluten free doesn't have added vitamins - we of all people need fortification in our cereals and bread, surely?

Yeah we learned that the hard way. I am inclined to think (as I did initially) that it was JUST the Cheerios but as time is passing and she is not bouncing back I am worried that we need to strip away dairy again for a while.

Oh I have no issue with being dairy free personally but tell that to a 13 year old. We both went gluten-free at the same time and it has been mindlessly easy for me. But I am easy about food and no real food issues. I am far more adaptable. She comes to the table with her own unique set of issues that complicate just easily transitioning to dairy free versions of much loved favorites. To most they are jst that "substitutes" to her they are completely different foods and ones that she has no interest in eating. They don't satisfy her need for XYZ. It is like craving an apple and someone handing you a fish. For her anyway! LOL!

I believe the talk around this forum is that cheerios are not gluten free enough for people with celiac at this time. I don't know if anything has changed on that and when their lawyer calls me I'll quickly delete this. haha

Could be we generally say get off of dairy for a few months when going gluten free. The part of the intestines that produce the enzymes, and help break down dairy are associated with the tips of the villi, which are the most damaged if not gone in celiacs. THIS is why most of us end up with a lactose intolerance early on. And most can introduce it later after healing. As to her symptoms with it there was a bunch of research about dairy permeated the gut and causing neurological issues in a autism study I was looking at years ago. And there have been other studies about damaged intestines and how the hormones in milk can easier effect ones body. Personally I also have a huge grudge against dairy on a personal level as it is not natural to suck on a cows tits and drink the stuff, nor your dogs, nor a rabbits......I mean come on even Human Breast milk you would find odd to drink as an adult right? Back in the past dairy was a great way to get calories and fats when there was famine, etc around I mean it is meant to make a calf grow into a 500+lb cow. But on a genetic and hormonal level it is not really for human consumption and now days the whole corporate BS propaganda push and dairy farms shove that oh its healthy stuff down your throat. There are plenty of dairy free options for everything feel free to message me if you need help finding anything I have been dairy free for over a decade.