Kansas City allergen-free nonprofit sends lifeline to Hurricane Ida victims in Louisiana

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, finding healthy gluten free foods can be a challenge. The same can hold true for countless other food allergies.

Now, imagine being caught in a hurricane while relying on food pantries or other low income sources to feed your family? That’s the dire situation for thousands of residents along the gulf coast who lost their homes and more to Hurricane Ida.

This week Food Equality Initiative, a nonprofit founded and based in Kansas City, answered the call of hunger organizations in Louisiana desperate for healthy and allergen free foods.

With the help of its partner Smart Warehouse, where its food is stored, FEI shipped 24 pallets of gluten and other allergen free foods to the Gulf Coast.

“Allergy free foods can cost two to three times more than those with common allergens,” FEI fonder and CEO Emily Brown said. “So it can be difficult, but particularly in times of disaster, it’s really hard for families to find the foods they need.”

The healthy food headed south on Sept. 14, timed for “Food is Medicine Day,” as proclaimed by FEI to help raise awareness of the need for allergen free foods in low income areas.

“Healthy food that is free from allergens and gluten is the only medicine that can improve the health of families with food allergies and celiac disease,” Brown said.

Brown and Amy Goode launched Food Equality Initiative in 2014 to help low income families obtain allergen free foods, and to educate them on the longterm effects of not dealing with celiac disease, as well as on the importance of fruits and vegetables to a healthy lifestyle.

The food shipment to hurricane victims was an extension of that and will be distributed by food pantries and programs that were also hit hard by the storm.  

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