Gluten free. It's become a health buzzword, but for people living with gluten intolerance and celiac disease, eating gluten-free is more than a passing trend. That's why one food bank is offering food for families with allergies to gluten, nuts and dairy and it's all free of charge.
Jan Demoure's kids have often had to go without some of their childhood favorites like P B and J’s and milk and cookies. That is until now.
"We're able to make bread and chocolate cookies and cakes and things, said Demoure.
While under normal circumstances the Demoures and families like them wouldn't need help from a food pantry, but the rising costs of allergen-free foods means they have few other options.
“Getting the safest food for our family is so expensive but our budget doesn't allow us to keep up with that. So being able to come here and get enough for a whole month is really great. It's been a relief for us,” said Demoure.
The Food Equality Initiative, founded by moms of kids with food allergies, knows just how expensive these foods are and often aren't found in traditional food banks.
“They are expensive or they may not even be sold in our community, so it can be very challenging for some individuals to access them,” said Food Equality Initiative CEO and co-founder Emily Brown.
Her organization helps struggling families with foods like hemp milk, which can go for as much as $15 a gallon. She says this pantry is a literal lifeline for local families who can't afford specialty foods.
“If they can't afford it they are making that difficult choice of giving their child something that can make them sick or going hungry and no family should have to make that choice,” says Brown.
Locally, Northwest Harvest says that when specialty foods are donated they are held for families with those specific dietary needs. They say that just keeping enough baby formula available which is expensive like allergen-free foods is always a challenge.