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February 8, 2016

The Rachel's Way GF/DF Food Pantry to Help Support Gluten Free Families In Need

Imagine your life now. You most likely can afford gluten-free food (although it breaks the bank) and you most likely live in a house / apartment at a reasonable price. Sure your life could probably be better in some ways but of course it could be much worse. Now, imagine you wake up tomorrow and everything has changed. Say you were to lose your job, have a personal crisis, or even an environmental crisis that puts you out on the streets. You're left out, away from your home, without food, without support, without shelter. You have no food so you realize that your only option is to find the nearest food pantry close to you. The only thing is once you get there, you realize that there's nothing available for you to eat. What do you do? What do you eat? You're gluten-free and you obviously can't eat gluten-filled foods to fill the void! You're left without anywhere else to turn and this is as far as getting help goes.

When it comes to food pantries around the U.S., this is a very real issue. Not much thought is put into those who are also gluten-free and in need of food. This means that hundreds of people around the U.S. may not have access to food due to their allergy limitations at no fault of their own. You can imagine how serious of an issue this has become and how serious of an issue it would be for you if disaster struck. There hasn't been much awareness put into changing this over the years, but luckily the Gluten Free Pantry is here to help make a difference and you can help too.


Heather and her daughter, Rachel


What is the Gluten Free Pantry?
"Our gluten free pantry provides gluten free, dairy free and allergy friendly foods to individuals and families in need. After seeing my daughter be ill for months and finally finding out she couldn’t tolerate gluten and dairy we were grateful to finally have a diagnosis and so overwhelmed with shopping and finding safe foods, I had to give back and have a place for others to go for help."

Why did you start The Gluten Free Pantry?
"I named the pantry after my daughter, Rachel because she is my hero. She never complains about the foods he can no longer enjoy or cheats on her special diet."

How does it help people?
"When there is a crisis, loss of job, divorce, illness, there is no other resource for people who can’t eat gluten or other foods to go. Traditional pantries do not carry these foods or if they do get some gluten free food donations it is not enough. These foods also cost at least double the cost of non specialty foods and can put a strain on anyone."

Where is it located currently and where would you like to expand?
"We are in Plymouth Meeting PA outside of Philadelphia. This year, I would like to expand in our tri-state area and have a special delivery truck where we can drive to other communities and deliver these foods."

Where would you like Gluten Free Pantry to be in 5 years?
"I would like the pantry to be nationwide. The need is so great and the people we service are so grateful to have not only food provided to lighten their load but have a community of support not only for themselves but others who are in need.We also would love to have a Rachel Way camp for kids with allergies, so they have a safe place to have fun in our area."

What can we do to help? 
"Donate. Please consider donating food or funds to help us expand and operate. Include gluten free foods to your donations to your local pantries."

Final thoughts:
I'm sure not many of you are in a situation where you would rely on a gluten-free pantry right now. But think about how quickly that could change and what would happen if you did need help. Think about the many families around the U.S. that are not as fortunate as you or I. Think about the families that do need this help right now. I ask of you to help contribute to such an important cause that's needed around the U.S. Please help donate to the Gluten Free Pantry or even just spread the word. Every little bit counts because you never know when you could need something like this too.



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