BY WENDY GORDON PAKE
Halloween at the Pake house – with a child with food allergies – always went the same: My husband and I would spill out our son’s big plastic pumpkin and separate the candy into “safe” and “unsafe” piles. Then we would give our son a surprise in exchange for the off-limits candy.
The number of American children who experience food allergies has been growing about four times faster than the population for at least 20 years. Now, on average, two students in every elementary classroom have a food allergy. If you include food intolerances and GI disorders in the count, more than two students per classroom have food restrictions.
As more and more families deal with this challenge, creative initiatives abound to help families manage. Teal pumpkins adorn front porches to indicate that non-food treats are available for trick-or-treaters. A visit from “Switch Witch” puts a name to our family’s tradition.
FOODiversity aims to enable all children to enjoy a safe Halloween.
Every parent’s goals are preventing harm and avoiding danger for their child or children. Many lower income parents lack the support and health education needed. Without access, safety and positive health outcomes are far from these families’ realities.
What if …
♦ A Mom does not know how to decipher an ingredients list?
♦ A caregiver does not know that a child’s stomach ache after eating gluten or dairy is actually intestinal damage due to the ingested food?
♦ A family’s only transportation is the bus or a shared vehicle? Limited resources (e.g. financial, transportation, time) heighten the struggle, and the neighborhood convenience store is the only source for groceries?
♦ A dad must choose between paying for rent, utilities, medicine or food?
FOODiversity answers the call by raising awareness, providing educational and financial support, and increasing access.
Please join FOODiversity in the fight to end hunger and prevent medical emergencies.
Wendy Gordon Pake is the founder, president, and volunteer executive director of FOODiversity, an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; all donations further the vision and are fully tax-deductible. Founded in 2020, FOODiversity is headquartered in Mooresville and serves clients across the country. Learn more at FooDiversity.org.