Food Allergy Resources
We recently had a request for food allergy policies and resources that would address the severe allergies of the many children who frequent their building. While they had done an extensive search on their own, they were coming up empty. We put out the call and received a few very good responses, such as this from Sandy Olsen at St. James in Taos, NM:
We do not have a formalized food information project but over time have slowly and caringly had our shared pot luck food labeled with tent cards that list allergenic ingredients. Gluten, milk eggs and always include vegan, vegetarian, sugar free, natural non dye drinks and fresh fruits.
Our food pantry has events of providing healthy recipes and sample tastes of those foods available that week from our offerings. How to's on preparing rice/bean dishes that are low sodium low fat yet tasty. Education is also provided on fiber, smaller portions, and wise proportions. We have seen some families embrace it so we hope to lead by example.
A diabetic 4-week cooking class is co hosted with cooperative extension and our Holy Cross local hospital. Their chefs use our parish kitchen and enrollees 'taste and see' Christ in action.
John Clinton Bradley shared with us these guidelines for Healthy Hospitality Hour Suggestions that were recently developed by the Williams Wellness Initiative and endorsed by the vestry of The Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene in Rochester NY.
But what if you have a preschool on site? What if you need very specific policies and guidelines that go beyond these suggestions? It occurred to us that schools have the same challenges. We tracked down some excellent resources, which you can find in our Resources section. Note that we're not trying to find every resource available; just the ones we think are most worthwhile for you.
My personal favorite is the Safe at School and Ready to Learn comprehensive guide from the National School Boards Association. It's a terrific publication, easy to read, complete with checklists, policies, and anything else you might need. Be sure the children in your parish are safe and that the food you have available is good for them. These resources can help you evaluate your programs and be sure you are creating a truly healthy environment!