Food Banks & Food Allergies
Last year when I was on TAG, the Teen Advisory Group for Food Allergy Research and Education, I didn’t get super involved because I was still adjusting to it and figuring out what I could do. However this year, I wanted to get more involved and help advocate for the food allergy community further. One of the things you can do as a member of TAG is get involved in group projects. You can propose one or join one, and these projects are meant to help the food allergy community in some way. So this year, that’s exactly what I did. There were many different project proposals, but the one that spoke to me most was called Allergy-Friendly food banks. At my school, I am a part of a service club, so I’ve worked with many food banks before and not one that I’ve been to or heard about has had a food allergy section or food-allergy friendly foods. This is really hard for me to wrap my head around because for me, I have plenty of resources where I can get safe foods but for many, that isn’t so. The goal of this group is to help state food banks understand the importance of food allergies and why they need to take them into consideration. The group will also be helping them through allergy-friendly food drives.
We’ve already started working on the project, and so far it’s going really well. I’ve never done anything like this before so I didn’t know what to expect but everyone has been super nice and we’re starting to make progress! We are all spread out across the country which is really great because that makes us able to spread education of food allergy awareness on a wider scale! The next phase of our project is going to include presenting a slideshow to local food banks to help them understand our greater goal and to hopefully forge partnerships with them. I’m really excited to do this because while I’ve been fairly active in the food allergy community, I haven’t done something this local yet! I really want people to understand the importance of food allergies in all situations, and I want to be able to help people who don’t have the same kind of access to safe foods that I do. Food allergies are really difficult things to manage and for me I would not feel as confident about managing my food allergy if it weren’t for people who helped me along the way. I want to be one of those people who helps others in the food allergy community and I feel like I can do that through this project.
I’m so excited to see where this project goes and to be able to help others in the food allergy community in a different type of way. Hopefully by doing my part, I can make a lasting impact on the food banks in my state and help people get foods that are safe for them and their families, because safety should always come first.