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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 PST
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 PST
Excellent!!! Exactly what's needed!

 
Joanna
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said this on
24 Jan 2011 10:12:35 AM PST
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 PST
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 PST
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 PST
How terrific! I am inspired!




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