24251 Nation's First Free Food Pantry for People with Food Allergies or Celiac Disease - Celiac.com
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Nation's First Free Food Pantry for People with Food Allergies or Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 02/11/2016 - Kansas is wheat country, and like the rest of America, Kansans are generally not gluten-free. That means the food in their charity food pantries are not usually gluten-free.

Photo: FoodPantries.orgThat means that, however hard it might be to maintain a gluten-free diet in Kansas, or anywhere else in America, it's that much harder to maintain a gluten-free diet if you're poor, or simply can't afford the prices.

However, things have gotten a bit easier in Kansas recently, where the efforts of two dedicated mothers of children with food allergies have led to the first free food pantry in the nation dedicated to food for people with food allergies.

After meeting at a local support group and realizing their common problems, Amy Goode and Emily Brown joined forces to meet their challenges in finding and affording specialty foods required for their kids' diets. Both women faced high food bills for staple foods needed for their kids' food sensitivities.

Brown's older daughter, for example, suffered multiple food allergies, and could only tolerate hemp milk, which is priced at $15 a gallon, and is not covered by the government's WIC program. Both women, Brown said, were "struggling to pay for our alternative milks, and it was just overwhelming."

Allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods typically cost two to four times more than comparable regular items. In both cases, the women were struggling to keep their kids healthy, as the alternative is often lines and suffering in the kids. Goode said, " I think people miss that aspect of it. It's not just about the food, but it's about the health."

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Their efforts to offer an alternative have resulted in the launch of the ReNewed Health Free Food Pantry in Overland Park, located in the New Haven Seventh Day Adventist Church at 8714 Antioch Road.

The church dedicated space for the pantry just across the hall from a regular food pantry stocked with non-gluten-free products.

ReNewed Health offers only options for those with food allergies along with standard nutrient-dense foods, such as beans. Much of the food is donated by manufacturers, stores and a gluten-free bakery, and all that's needed to use the pantry is a doctor's note or lab results showing you or your child has a medical need for the foods.

The pantry is open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Kudos to these Kansas moms for turning their challenge into a success for other people facing the same problem. And kudos to starting America's first free food pantry for people with food allergies and celiac disease.

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4 Responses:

 
Cecelia
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
12 Feb 2016 3:27:50 PM PDT
I am thankful that these two mothers have done this tremendously needed service to families with gluten issues.

 
Karen
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
15 Feb 2016 9:06:17 AM PDT
How I wish I lived closer, about 4 1/2 hours west as I have 6 in our family diagnosed celiac, also many other food allergies. It is true, very limited supply in smaller towns to find gluten free even in the grocery stores, , let alone at the food pantry. Thanks for a good start. Keep it up!

 
Libby
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said this on
17 Feb 2016 3:50:57 PM PDT
I would love to start one here in our small town. Please any info or advice would be wonderful. Great job!

 
Char
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
17 Feb 2016 7:44:59 PM PDT
Excellent. I'm fortunate to have the advantage of gluten food options in my area. It did take me a bit to get diagnosed since it progressed as got older.




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Cycling Lady, LMAO at IBeStumped! So true. Yes, he is trying the band aid approach it seems. That's probably the most frustrating thing of all. So yesterday I get a call back from his office and they say to stop taking the Viberzi and switch back to Imodium! I reminded them that Imodium didn't work, I had already used it 8 days with no changes. His assistant informed me that that is all he can recommend at this time until he sees me at my next appointment which is 5/24! I live near Chicago and I am about to make an appointment to go to the University of Chicago hospital which is the top celiac research hospital in the country. Hopefully they can give me better answers.

7Hi jen and welcome No-one can diagnose remotely via nterwe posts but if there was such a game as celiac / gluten sensitive bingo, I would be calling 'House!' having read your account above... Lots of things fit the pattern as I'm sure your lurking has revealed. It's a tricky condition to diagnose however so you may have a little wait before you join the coolest club in town and get your funky celiac membership card For now it's really important that you stay on gluten. Keep eating it as accurate testing requires it. Ask your doctor to check the boxes for celiac testing alongside your liver blood tests. There should be enough in your history to get this without hassle but if they're reluctant INSIST and don't be afraid to assert your reasonable suspicion and wish to clarify and exclude. A good liver specialis will be aware of the possible links so you should be ok. If not gt second opinion. Ask for a full celiac panel as there are variety of tests. Find further info here There's a lot to take in, but be positive, I think you are on the right track and if so, you could soon be feeling better than you ever thought possible!

Hello, I am in a job that I travel every 3rd week...It gets challenging becuase many times I am doing audits of warehouses and they dont even have a cafeteria. I usually bring gluten-free protein bars as a back up if I have to miss a meal and then eat when I get back to the hotel. Just a suggestion because they certainly fill me up....Have a safe trip...Kelly

Hello all, I'm a new member here but have lurked for a while. I'm looking for some advice regarding my medical history, possible symptoms of celiac and next steps. General info: female, low level smoker, drink alcohol, aged 32. I started having bad gastro issues when I was around 17. Since then I've consistently suffered from chronic diarrhoea, frequent discomfort in the tummy area, feelings of dehydration despite drinking at least eight glasses a day and frequent fatigue for no real reason. In 2008/9 I visited the doctor as my diarrhoea was having an effect on my studies at the time. The doctor tested me for allergies; eggs, fish, gluten and lactose and did a "standard" blood test. Everything came back fine except my liver results, which were elevated to double (I did not the see the results for myself so can't say which enzymes etc). I was told to drink less and take Imodium. The doctor implied that perhaps I was stressed and / or anxious and, still being young plus a student who regularly went out drinking, I accepted this advice and carried on with my life. I would here add that I am not an unusually stressed person - in fact, learning to deal with my unpredictable bowels has forced me to be quite a laid-back person! Fast forward to 2016. I had been living with my partner for two years by this point who had noticed my bowel habits and informed me that this was definitely not normal. He encouraged me to try out a gluten free diet since I was apprehensive about visiting a doctor only to be fobbed off with Imodium again. I did the diet as strictly as a newbie can for around two months before we set off travelling. During the diet I noticed that after a couple of weeks of extreme tiredness I felt quite a lot better - I kept a food journal at the time which showed that I almost immediately had diarrhoea once after eating an ice-cream, i felt bloated and unwell after an attempt to make oat muffins (maybe i didn't cook them very well though!) and I felt bloated and had diarrhoea after eating some fish fried in flour (We made a mistake in ordering them but I didn't want to complain). My partner also reported that my mood swings (which I admit can be a little unpredictable) were much better. Once we started travelling I gave up and ate what I was given as we were staying with friends etc much of the time. Toward the end of our trip I started to feel extremely tired, to the point of having to stay in for "rest" days, and my guts were very unhappy. I chalked it up to irregular eating patterns, too many beers and late nights in general. During the trip I also had an extreme hangover after drinking wheat beer. And, while of course I accept that any overindulgence can make you ill, I really felt that that level of hangover was quite out of the ordinary. Finally, I developed a strange lump under my armpit during this period. Now back at home, I decided to go to the doc and check out the odd lump under my armpit. The doctor was pretty confident that it was nothing to worry about cancer-wise but she ordered a battery of blood tests just to be sure. The lump is fine (good news) but the results showed elevated GGT, high-ish ALT and normal AST liver enzymes plus signs of dehydration in red bloods / higher (but not concerning) levels of white bloods. I'm scheduled to go back for another blood test to double-check liver function and discuss results - if it is again high she will send me for a ultrasound. Does this history chime with anyone here? I know that the correct course in basic health terms is to stop drinking for some time (easily done) and stop smoking forever (easy to say...) but I cannot help but think that something else is going on here. I will discuss this with my doctor and make clear that my bowel issues have not been resolved and that the initial IBS diagnosis wasn't based on any thorough testing so to speak. In the meantime - does anyone have any advice for me in times of avenues to research or experience of similar symptoms? Gluten remains in my diet but in all other respects it could be regarded as very healthy, I think anyway... (pescatarian, plenty of fruit and veg, little to no sugar on a daily basis, not much dairy to speak of...) Thanks in advance and sorry for bending everyone's' ear about this... I guess it's just taken a long time for me to admit I might be sick and I need some help. Jen

Wish I could give you a hug. Unfortunately I know how that feels with Neurologists, Internists, Endocrinologists, Rheumatologists, GIs..... I got so tired of crying my drive home after refusing yet another script for Prozac. I do hope your GI can give you some answers even if it is just to rule out other possible issues. Keep on the gluten and we are here for you.