by Ari Packer
Hello! My name is Ari Packer, and I chose to work with the S.A.F.E Food Pantry for my Bar Mitzvah project this past April. I have had allergies to eggs and all types of nuts since I was two years old. Over the last two years, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Walk. My work with FARE led me to learn the about the S.A.F.E Food Pantry.
Before coming to the pantry, my sister and I used our saved money, to purchase all types of gluten free and allergy-free food for donation. When we arrived at food pantry for the first time, I was very impressed with how it worked. The bought food was weighed, totaling 143 pounds worth. I took all the food and stocked the allergy section.
The second part of my plan, was to get others to donate. I started by putting in some informational cards along with the Bar Mitzvah invitations. The information explained the S.A.F.E’s Food Pantry mission, along with an item donation list. After I accomplished that, I took a box attached with some flyers with pantry and collection information, along with an informational poster board with pictures of me stocking the shelves for the very first time. The board also had the food pantry’s mission on it.
A week before my Bar Mitzvah, I went into the K-3 grade classrooms of my Hebrew School, where I gave a presentation on my project and how they could help out! Along with this, I placed a short paragraph in the synagogue bulletin describing my project. It made me feel really good to be helping this great cause in so many different ways.
Four days before my Bar Mitzvah, I sent out an email to all of my friends asking for food item donations on the day of my Bar Mitzvah service. I also had my informational board and box out by the door so everyone could see my project. I wound up collecting a whole bin of food from friends and family! I was very happy to be able to collect this much food for such a great cause!
You too can make a difference during the month of May by participating in our Family-Led Food Drive program. Click here for more information on how to sign up.
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
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is finishing off October with a bang. With three events in three days, our goal to spread awareness about the need for gluten free and allergy-friendly food for those in need is truly happening.
On Thursday, October 26, Dr. Donna DeCosta from FoodASC was our featured speaker at our quarterly Food for Thought session. Her talk on The 3 E's to Empowerment: Passing the Food Allergy Baton covered the main topics to Evaluate, Educate, and Equip children who have food allergies. These tips also apply to parents of those with celiac disease and other related medical conditions as well as adults. For more information on this talk, please visit: www.foodasc.com/safe. While you are there, don’t forget to sign up to join the Food ASC community.
Our fall gluten free and allergy friendly food drive took place on Saturday, October 28 at the Giant Food in Clarksville, Maryland. We were fortunate to have sunny yet cool weather as we embarked on our quarterly community food drive. We appreciate our new and returning donors for making our food drive a success. If you would still like to donate, you can:
Also, on Saturday, October 28, our Youth Fighting Hunger team was invited to the Cel-Kids Halloween Party in Baltimore. Our youth ambassador, Lily, spoke about her experiences conducting a food drive for her bat mitzvah. We are so lucky to have Lily and her mom, Sara, as part of our team. They developed the Youth Fighting Hunger- Allergy Friendly Food Drive how-to guide and customizable flyer. Tiffany was also there to talk about the organization and food drive opportunities.
We would love to have you join our team as a food drive volunteer. There are many different opportunities:
by Lily Lev
I had my bat mitzvah earlier this year, and for my project, I wanted to do something to help people who can’t eat gluten because I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 2. I decided to help S.A.F.E. because it is the only gluten free food pantry in Maryland. I’m fortunate enough to have gluten free food whenever I need, but for people who rely on food pantries and are gluten free, they have limited options. To help, I organized a neighborhood food drive where I left bags at houses and returned the following week to collect donations. The project was super easy and fun at the same time. I was surprised to see how many people donated food, and in total I collected 146 lbs of gluten free food.
Please see our Food Drive page or email us you are interested in more information. We look forward to working with you!
by June Ramey and Kristine Dzagan
Traveling with lots of food allergies can definitely be troublesome. In essence, we who have food allergies are trusting people we have never met and who may not be aware of how devastating food allergies can be to get us a healthy meal. We can do our part by being specific, but if the people on the other end don't take it seriously, or the waitperson doesn't relay all the information, it's up to us to ferret out whether we should enjoy a meal at a particular place from obscure signals and Hercule Poirot-type clues. So here are some tips for eating safe while traveling:
June Ramey serves as the Board Secretary for the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. She and her daughter, Kris Dzagan, co-authors of Celiac Creations for Multiple Food Allergies: How To Survive When Your Food Is Killing You are dedicated volunteers to the organization and have been featured speakers at past Food for Thought sessions.
In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is hosting a gluten free and allergy friendly food drive at the Giant Food, 6050 Daybreak Circle, Clarksville, MD on Saturday, May 6 from 10AM-1PM. We are accepting nonperishable food donations for our dedicated shelf space at the Howard County Food Bank. We also appreciate monetary donations as they provide us with funding to purchase necessary items.
Another option for donating food is through our basket program where we do the shopping for you. Help families in need who struggle with food allergies, celiac disease, and similar health issues eat safely by purchasing gluten free and allergy friendly food baskets:
$10 Gluten Free Pasta Meal
• Nature’s Promise Gluten Free Pasta
• Schar Gluten Free Rolls
• Francesco Rinaldi’s Zesty Tomato Sauce
$10 Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Sides
• 3 Giant Canned Vegetables
• Giant Applesauce
• Schar Gluten Free Rolls
$20 Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Sides Deluxe
• 6 Giant Canned Vegetables
• Giant Brown Rice
• Giant Dried Beans
• Giant Applesauce
• Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix
• Giant Coconut Oil
• Nature’s Promise Dairy Free Milk
Please indicate in the comments which basket(s) you would like to donate.
Keep in mind that One Dish Cuisine, located in Ellicott City, is a permanent food collection point during their business hours. Look for the sealed, plastic tote in the front of the café.
Our clients and we appreciate your generosity!
As an all-volunteer organization, SAFE could not accomplish its mission without those of you who volunteer time, attention and effort to perform all the necessary functions to serve our clients. Know that everything you do - helping with administrative work, collecting food items, communicating with the public – contributes to the strength and vitality of the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. Our clients just know that they are able to get food that allows them to stay healthy. We at SAFE know that is possible because of you. Thank you for being the driving force behind SAFE. We could not do it without you!
If you haven't joined our volunteer team yet, it's not too late! We just posted different opportunities on The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County for your consideration or visit our Volunteer page for general information.
Would you like to help our clients by sponsoring a food drive at your workplace? We will make it very easy for you. You will get all the information you need to propose the idea, organize the food drive, and collect gluten free, allergy friendly food items.
All you have to do is contact us at email@example.com. We will send you the information by email – ready for you to use – and work with you every step of the way. Our clients will appreciate anything you can do for them and so will we!
We are excited to report that S.A.F.E. kept busy during 2016! We took substantive action to achieve our mission by:
by Libby McClayton
According to FARE, food allergies affect 1 out of every 13 children, or approximately two students per classroom. This staggering statistic, coupled with my dedication to improving the health and well-being of children and communities as a whole, sparked my interest in S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. I was drawn to S.A.F.E. Food Pantry in particular because S.A.F.E. is the only organization in the region (and one of the only organizations in the country) whose mission is to provide gluten free and allergy friendly foods to those in need.
In my past experience working in low income communities, I worked with a sizeable number of students with food allergies. Although the schools and non-profits I worked for did their best to provide nutritious allergy friendly meals for the students during their programs, there was no guarantee that after their programs ends that these students had nutritious, safe, meals at their homes. Food insecurity in children is associated with poor quality of life, which could inhibit children from fully participating in school and social activities. I am proud to serve on the board of S.A.F.E. Food Pantry where we are taking strides to help children and families in need so they live up to their full potential.
Libby McClayton serves as the Board Treasurer for the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry.
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization based in Howard County, Maryland.