Foods that are gluten free and allergy friendly are 2-4 times more expensive than the typical grocery items and almost impossible to find in local food pantries. No one knows this better than Claire* who has celiac disease and other food intolerances. She receives a modest $15 per month in FSP (Food Supplement Program) benefits to aid her in purchasing gluten free and allergy friendly food. Step into Claire’s shoes and experience what it is like to choose between hunger and eating something that will make her ill.
Claire is now able to find gluten-free food at the Howard County Food Bank during her monthly visits thanks to generous donors like you. “It used to be next to impossible to find safe food at the Food Bank. I would leave there with a small bag of items and go home to bare cupboards, while other people left with grocery carts full of food. Then, I would have to wait another month to return to see if there was anything I could eat. I am grateful for S.A.F.E. Food Pantry since I can now find food that works for me. S.A.F.E. is a real blessing for me.”
Financial contributions help people like Claire obtain the gluten free and allergy friendly food that they need to thrive. Help us assist more clients with gluten free and allergy friendly food with a donation today.
* Client name changed to protect privacy
by Tiffany and Allan Holtzman
We started the SNAP Challenge with optimism that we could stretch our $44 ($22 for each of us) to supply us with five days worth of food. Along the way, we learned that SNAP benefits do not go far to assist people with special dietary conditions as we tackled a diet free from gluten and the top allergens of wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
Prior to the challenge we ventured to Trader Joe’s and Wegmans and bought the following items to total $33.96:
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 5.49
Organic Sweet Peas, Frozen - 1.99
Organic Strawberries, Frozen - 2.69
3 Bananas - 0.57
Organic Buckwheat Groats - 4.49
Organic Garbanzo Beans - 2.99
Organic French Green Lentils - 2.99
Organic Basmati Rice - 4.59
Organic Tomato Paste, Canned - 0.89
Jones Turkey Links Frozen - 2.59
Organic Carrots 5# - 3.99
Lemon - 0.69
SUBTOTAL - 33.96
We wanted to keep some money in the budget for buying meat later in the week, if necessary. By Tuesday evening, we dipped into our remaining budget, spending $6.03 for some chicken pieces that were on sale, leaving us with $4.01 remaining.
Here is what we learned from our experiences, in no particular order:
This SNAP Challenge was definitely an eye-opening experience for us. We are extremely grateful to be able to afford the gluten free and allergy friendly food that we need and look forward to assisting those who cannot afford safe food through the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry.
Tiffany Holtzman is the Founder and Board President of the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. Her husband, Allan, is a dedicated supporter and volunteer for the organization.
Living on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, called the Food Supplement Program (FSP) in Maryland, can be a struggle for many families. Starting on Monday, September 12 through Friday, September 16, the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is working in cooperation with Maryland Hunger Solutions to participate in the SNAP Challenge.
Since the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry has a mission to provide gluten free and allergy friendly food to those in need, we will be doing the SNAP Challenge with special dietary conditions in mind. We encourage you to join us as a participant in the SNAP Challenge if you have special dietary needs including food allergies, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, to name a few.
For more information on this special gluten free and allergy friendly SNAP Challenge, please click here for more information and registration. On this page you will also find a food log to help you keep track of your food for the five-day challenge.
We would love to hear from you throughout the week, so please use hashtag #SNAPSAFE as you connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email.
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization based in Howard County, Maryland.