"To fight food insecurity among food-allergic individuals, and to increase the accessibility of allergen-free foods through research, education, and community action."
The majority of food pantries and food banks cannot accommodate food-allergic individuals, due to cost, education gaps, or lack of protocol to keep allergy-safe foods segregated for those who need them. Even if these organizations realize they cannot support clients with food allergies, few programs have the time, resources, or desire to accommodate specific nutritional needs. Food pantries may be unable to allot their limited budgets towards more expensive, allergy-friendly items.
SSF aims to make food pantries a more accessible choice for food-allergic families by distributing allergy-friendly foods to nearly 30 food pantries in seven states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. These pantries pledge to keep our donations segregated and reserved for clients with food allergy (FA), celiac disease, or other medical dietary restrictions. To ensure donations are reaching FA individuals, we operate on a system of clear communication, research, and education. Data collection helps us tailor our donations to fit each pantry’s FA needs.
Our program strives to provide food-allergic individuals with healthy and balanced alternatives to “allergen-full” products. Some examples may include, among others, dairy-free cheese, spreads, or beverages, gluten-free breads or baking mixes, and nut-free bars or seed butters.
Although SSF partners with food pantries who are already aware of and committed to food allergy safety, we also educate and partner with pantries that may not have been previously knowledgeable about the impact of FA on their clientele. We implement cross-contact protocol and dedicated FA donation areas to facilitate safe, accessible, and effective distribution of allergen-free products.