Many people have found creative ways to help their community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be the unique ways people showed gratitude to healthcare workers, donating supplies to those in need or even just making every effort to stay home, people truly tried to protect those around them. That said, the food allergy community is facing a slightly different problem, as our connection isn’t dictated by geography. Without access to each other, or any way of truly knowing which people are apart of the community, it’s a little difficult to take initiative and pay it forward. Given this, we wanted to share some creative ways to support your fellow food allergy families during this difficult time.
Food banks and soup kitchens aren’t known for being food allergy safe, and unfortunately too many people with food allergies are forced to rely on these options. While it might not be possible to sterilize the kitchen or keep all the food safe from cross contamination, you can still make a difference. By donating foods that are food allergy safe, you are allowing those in need to feel as if they do have an option. For many, food banks are their main source of food, and the last thing they should need to worry about is whether or not they will even be able to eat at all. By providing food banks with food allergy friendly foods, you are providing those in need with safe, worry free, options. Sometimes, changing someone’s day starts with a gluten free roll.
With so many people in quarantine and full cities being put on lockdown, many families are stuck indoors. As any parent knows, this means going a little stir crazy. Children are growing bored of the endless hours spent inside and parents are begging for some quality entertainment. Try collaborating with other food allergy families and exchanging fun recipes and ideas. Maybe find a way to make gluten free play-doh, or feed your children a really great, dairy free, mac and cheese. One of the huge benefits to the internet is its ability to keep us all connected, so now more than ever, take advantage of your food allergy community.
One of the most difficult things about being put on lockdown, is the loss of a support system. If once, people were constantly surrounded by close friends and family, then today they are left completely alone. For people still learning to deal with their food allergies, having people with similar experiences share their stories can prove to be a huge help. This is especially true for parents. Parents who are just now learning that their children have food allergies are in a constant state of stress and having an experienced parent guide them through the first few months, can really make all the difference.
There are barely a handful of restaurants that offer allergy safe options. Whether that be completely allergy free establishments, or special accommodating options, not many places offer worry free food. Given this, during this difficult time, make a conscious effort to support your food allergy friendly establishments. If this isn’t a weekly option for you, then make a night out of it. Everybody knows the importance of supporting small businesses during this difficult time, and the food allergy community is no different. Order take out, watch a movie and be happy that you showed your support to those that work to support you.
Despite the disruptions to all of our lives, food allergies aren’t going anywhere. It may be hard to focus on something that feels like a part of regular life right now, but food allergy awareness is still as important as ever. Make sure to keep on top of your social media, to stay up to date on your food allergy news and to be as aware as ever about the difficulties and breakthroughs in the community. As we saw, Food Allergy Awareness Week, had a great effect on the community, despite the difficult time. In times of hardship, many people turn to their communities, so let us make sure that our community is thriving and ready for anyone who may need a helping hand.
Human beings are social beings and therefore, very naturally, create communities. However, since the .com era, researchers have been exploring the true meaning of community and how the definition has changed since the start of the digital age. If once upon a time, community was dictated by geography, then today, that is no longer the case. Today, people are able to use social media to create communities that are purely based off of shared experience and interest. That is how the food allergy community was born. With countless online users turning to digital platforms for their food allergy support, the community may look a little different that traditional groups. However, at the end of the day, we are a community and should make every effort to support each other in any way we can.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA