Bloggers from across the country are working to ensure there are gluten-free options for people recovering from the devastating effects of “Frankenstorm.”
Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the East Coast last week, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and running water amid destroyed properties along the coastline. Americans from across the country have been donating food, money and clothing to help the victims recover from the storm. While there has been no shortage of news coverage of the storm’s aftermath, a lesser publicized effect is gaining attention from the gluten-free online community: the need for gluten-free options at food banks and shelters.
Food banks are often ill-prepared to accommodate special dietary needs (A 2011 article in Living Without covered this very issue). Not willing to accept that gluten-free options won’t be available to people in need, especially during a natural disaster, gluten-free bloggers Kelly Courson of Celiac Chicks, Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun, and Rachelle King of Blinded by the Bite! have each sprang into action in their own unique ways.
Kelly has started a virtual food drive in conjunction with Feeding America where people can donate to the food banks supporting the victims of Sandy. She started off the fund with $100, noting that just $1 translates to eight meals for the hungry. She is also calling for gluten-free food donations to be made to local food New York food banks.
Erin has been spending her time calling food banks to determine if they will accept gluten-free donations, as many do not provide gluten-free options on a daily basis. Visit her blog for a list of food banks accepting gluten-free donations as well as other ways to help out all the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
In a slightly different approach, Rachelle is helping to boost local businesses in New York. Inspired by a tweet from Anthony Bourdain of CNN’s Eatocracy, #EatDownTipUp began. Those in the New York area in particular are encouraged to begin dining downtown again to help get restaurant employees back to work and financially recover from the hurricane. People participating in the movement are tweeting pictures of their bill with the hashtag #EatDownTipUp to raise awareness of the movement.
With the coastline slowly on its way to recovery, this natural disaster serves as a reminder for everyone, especially those with gluten-free needs, to always be prepared in case of emergency. For more information on gluten-free emergency preparedness and what you can do to be ready in case of a natural disaster, read this post from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness on The Great Life.