Having food allergies is a full-time job. Every ingredient, recipe, and toy has to be checked and then checked again. For families that deal with this daily, it can quickly become difficult to navigate normal life. For this reason, food allergy awareness is important. By having more awareness for those in the allergy community, life for food allergies can improve dramatically. Steps like better labeling and safer school lunches can change the lives of those in the allergy community.
Could you bring it to School?
If your child has food allergies, then spreading awareness can be as easy as contacting a teacher. School is a great place to provide your child with their own platform to spread awareness about their allergies. Please help your child create a presentation that they can share with their class, teaching them the importance of being aware of food allergies. For many children, food allergies are a completely foreign concept, so by having your child share their experience, you teach them to speak up and show other children that food allergies are not so crazy after all.
Share on Social Media
It may seem obvious and overdone, but social media is a great resource for raising awareness. Find out which hashtags and social media pages are pushing for food allergy awareness and join their fight. It might even be a good idea to start a blog about your food allergy struggles or experiences if you're able to. After all, no one will fight for you the way you are, so be your own media representation.
Be the Change
Whether it’s bringing allergy-free snacks to school, having a cake-less birthday party, or giving out goody bags filled with toys, feel free to be the one to start a trend. By normalizing the idea of having food-free parties for kids with food allergies, you can spread awareness for your food allergic family while also introducing unique ideas for parents to explore.
For many people, to feel connected to a cause, they need to feel it personally. A great way of personalizing the food allergy experience can be by sharing your story. Using social media and other more unconventional platforms, you can create a narrative that has you in the center. Not only will this place your story in people’s minds, but it may also push people to take action (e.g., donating or volunteering).
Utilize the Government
The government can be a hard world to navigate, but being in contact with them can certainly pay off when done right. Not only does the government have the ability to provide grants for events and push for research, but they also have a huge reach. Many government officials can put you in touch with organizations looking to help.
Talk it Up
People can’t support a cause they don’t know about, so take any chance you have to talk about food allergies and why support is important. Whether you’re at dinner, at the gym, or just at the supermarket, if someone is listening, don’t be scared to throw in a couple of words about spreading allergy awareness.
Know Your Stuff
Getting people to listen is half the battle. The other half comes when trying to get them to support you. Make sure you don’t give people any reason to walk away from your cause. Brush up on your food allergy statistics and make sure you have a couple of stories on hand because if you want to build a support system, then your argument will need to have a strong foundation.
Be an Active Member
Volunteer to go to schools and talk about food allergies, donate any money you can to charities committed to food allergy research, and develop ways to make the world a little safer for people with food allergies. Nobody will support someone who doesn’t have their own skin in the game; people must see how important the cause is to you. Don’t expect anyone to do something for you that you aren’t willing to do for yourself.
Showing that you’re grateful can push people to want to help you. Please take a moment to thank the teacher that allowed your child to present their allergy to the class. Thank the volunteer that took time from their day to spread a little bit of awareness. Whoever it was that helped you, make sure they know they are appreciated.
Living with food allergies will always be difficult. However, raising awareness for food allergies can help make it a little bit easier. That said, spreading awareness isn’t as easy as it seems and can be a full-time job in and of itself. Make sure you have a strong support system backing you up and a clear goal in mind before you get to work. Food allergy awareness is vital for the wellbeing of those in the allergy community, and by working together, we can make their lives just a little bit easier.