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Metro moms start first free food pantry for those with food allergies or celiac disease

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- One metro mom's dilemma has led to the first free food pantry in the nation for people who have food allergies or celiac disease.

Amy Goode and Emily Brown have children the same age who have food allergies. The moms bonded at a support group.

"Emily confided in me her daughter, due to her multiple food allergies, her family was having trouble buying the food," said Goode.

Brown said, "We were struggling to pay for our alternative milks, and it was just overwhelming."

Hemp milk, the only type her older daughter could consume, cost $15 a gallon and isn't covered by the government's WIC program. Typically, allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods cost two to four times as much as regular food.

"And if you can't afford it, you're just sick," said Brown.

Goode said, " I think people miss that aspect of it. It's not just about the food, but it's about the health."

The heart-to-heart talk last year resulted in the moms starting a free food pantry in Overland Park called ReNewed Health. The New Haven Seventh Day Adventist Church at 8714 Antioch Road provided the space for the pantry just across the hall from a regular food pantry stocked with wheat products.

You'll only find alternatives at ReNewed Health. There are also options for those with food allergies along with standard nutrient-dense foods such as beans. Much of the food has been donated by manufacturers, stores and a gluten-free bakery.

" I'm just filled with so much joy because a dream has become reality, and I know that reality is helping many people," said Brown.

All that's needed to come to the pantry is a doctor's note or lab results showing you or your child has a medical need for the foods.

The pantry is open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon. An open house will be held on Wednesday, May 13, from 1 to 6 p.m. with the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.