By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)
Being diagnosed with celiac disease and keeping to a strict gluten-free diet is hard enough. Now imagine you lose your job, are struggling for money and need to use a food bank. How likely is it that there will be something safe for you to eat there?
New Glasgow, a small town in Pictou County, Nova Scotia now has gluten-free food available at the Pictou County Food Bank for people with celiac disease. When I first read about this, the story stood out to me as I’m from “old” Glasgow in Scotland.
The Pictou County Celiac Support Group have donated $500 to their local food bank so that anyone who has celiac disease and who visits the food bank will be able to get the safe, gluten-free products they need.
Kim McInnis is the founder of the local celiac support group and was diagnosed as celiac ten years ago. When she presented the food bank with gift certificates to buy gluten-free products, she also explained the importance of finding products that are 100% safe for celiacs to eat. At a local grocery store she explained to the staff at the food bank which products were safe for celiacs, which were not and the importance of being vigilant and reading labels to avoid cross contamination. Signs will be placed in the food bank to let people know that gluten-free products are now available.
I’ve heard similar stories of more and more food banks stocking up on gluten free supplies but sadly there will be even more which are without. No celiac should have to eat food that is not safe for them. Both the immediate effects and the long-term consequences are too serious. Hopefully in the near future all food banks will have the funds and resources to be able to provide safe food for celiacs and other people suffering from serious food allergies and intolerances.
Do you know if your local food bank has gluten free food?