Food Equality Initiative (FEI) is actively engaged in pushing policy change to help those with food allergies, celiac disease, and those with other special dietary needs. On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additional funding and programming is included in the new bill to ensure that more people can be served and are served safely during the pandemic. There is also funding for free testing, unemployment benefits, paid sick/family leave, and more.
As school districts plan for food distribution due to school closures, Food Equality Initiative encourages school districts to take steps today to ensure that students with food allergies and other medically necessary dietary restrictions can safely access meals. The policy brief with recommendations can be found here.
Additionally, FEI produced a flyer for food pantries and for those with food allergies to use when going to pantries to help identify foods that contain the top nine allergens and gluten.
Standard food pantries might stock some gluten-free bread or a case of dairy-free milk, but they likely do not have enough to meet the needs of all those with food insecurity and food allergies. Food banks and food pantries are interested in stocking food so as to feed as many people as inexpensively as possible. While this method fills many bellies, those with food allergies are forgotten.
- People with food allergies can’t eat just a little bit of an allergen and be okay.
- People with food allergies must 100% avoid the allergens.
- People with food allergies must eat safe food.
- People with food allergies could end up in the hospital due to allergic reactions to unsafe foods.
- People with food allergies should not be denied a necessity of life.
Food Equality Initiative is taking the responsibility of ensuring people with food allergies have the food they need. Beyond advocating for those in need, FEI is working to deliver/ship food to clients. Shuttering the FEI pantries helps to protect FEI volunteers and those who would come to the pantries. However, there are additional costs to delivering much needed food. While FEI has been able to secure food, FEI needs additional funding. Help FEI to continue working for those in need and making change so that an emergency safety net can be put in place. Don’t let others go hungry because they couldn’t access allergen-free food.