As part of giving back during a time of natural disaster from Hurricane Ida, Food Equality Initiative (FEI), donated $70,000 worth of food that is free from major allergens and gluten to food pantries in New Orleans.
“This shipment, which left Kansas City’s Smart Warehousing location on September 14th, contains 24 pallets of beans, breakfast bars, pasta, seed butters, beef jerky, and other goods,” said FEI CEO and Founder Emily Brown. “There are over 17,500 items, weighing approximately 37,000 pounds.”
This gift will directly help under-resourced families with food allergies and celiac disease. The most popular donations to food pantries include items such as bread, peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese, which are not free-from the top 9 allergens: dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, sesame, soy. For individuals with food allergies and celiac disease, foods free from these allergens are essential to maintaining health; avoiding these foods is the only treatment.
“At FEI, our work is to meet the everyday crisis of food insecurity where it overlaps with food allergies and celiac disease,” said Brown. “At a time of collective crisis, like Hurricane Ida, we acknowledge the need to serve even more.”
This is a three-pronged partnership with FEI, Teal Schoolhouse’s Code Ana, and Second Harvest. Teal Schoolhouse, based in Atlanta, supports families with food allergies through education and research. Code Ana, partially funded by Teal Schoolhouse, provides emergency plans for schools to support children with food allergies. Second Harvest Food Bank in South Louisiana provides food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Second Harvest received and will distribute the 24 pallet donation to help local families in crisis because of Hurricane Ida.
This is not the first, but it is the largest donation Food Equality Initiative has ever made. In 2017, FEI sent $1,400 worth of free-from products to Houston, TX for people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.