Sharing Your Gluten Free Good Eats – Give to Your Local Food Bank!
‘Tis the season – the season of lots of good eats. For you. For me. For the family down the street. So, which one of us has to eat gluten free? Certainly your friendly authors are eating gluten free. And you, our dear readers, probably are, too (or at least you’ve tried it). And, if you’ve been eating it, then you already know that a gluten-free diet comes with a much higher price tag than the standard American diet.
Last week, we encouraged you to “Give, and Give Gluten-Freely” to your local food bank. Why? Because, for low income families with at least one member on a special diet, it is a difficult choice. Feed one special diet or feed the whole family. That’s where you and your local food bank can help.
So, where can you take your gluten-free goodies so that they get into the hands and tummies of those who need them? There are over a dozen already established food banks with gluten-free shelves and labeling procedures in place to make the food accessible and easily identifiable for those on special diets. They include:
Pittsburgh, PA – Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Network including:
North Hills Community Outreach – phone: 412-487-6316
East End Cooperative Ministries – phone: 412-361-5549
West Hills Food Pantries – phone: 412-262-4930
Brentwood Presbyterian Church Food Pantry – phone: 412-882-6035
Pierce’s Pantry, a Gluten-Free Food Bank, which accepts monetary donations online.
If time is tight, or a donation box/food bank isn’t easily accessible to you then consider supporting those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance by giving a monetary donation. Your local food bank will gladly accept monetary donations, too, and they have tremendous buying power so your donated dollars will stretch further.
Here’s the good news – you don’t just have to find an already established gluten-free food bank. You can turn any food donation box that you see popping up in supermarkets, the mall, schools, and your office building into a gluten-free/special diet donation box.
Eat it: The next time you’re at the market grab an extra can of hearty gluten free soup, chili, canned chicken, or fruit in juice — a very special treat. It is rare for a family to get cooking oil with their food so, if possible, include a bottle with your donation.
If you donate a grain such as quinoa, be sure to also package it with all the things that would turn it into a tasty meal such as a box of chicken stock, and some canned tomatoes. This is often the expensive part. Keep in mind that your entree may be the only food a family of four eats that day.
Drink up: A carton of shelf-stable rice, almond, or coconut milk would be appreciated. Or simply grab an extra bag of your favorite gluten free or special diet treats. Any of these options would make great gluten-free donations and all of them would be welcomed at a food bank near you.
Also, make it easy for those sorting the food and add a “GF” notation in permanent market to the top of the can or clearly identify the donation as gluten free when putting it in the collection box or handing it off to a volunteer at the food bank.
These simple steps will make it an easy process for you making the donation, for the food banks sorting the donation, and for the families who will benefit significantly from your generosity this holiday season. Give, and give gluten-freely!
So – what are you going to be donating to the food bank or food donation box in your neighborhood? What gluten-free treats are you going to encourage your kids/friends/neighbors to donate? Do you know of a gluten-free or special-diet food bank in your area? Tell us! We want to know.
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