I have a couple ideas that I am playing around with. The first one is a food allergy support group here in Rockland County, NY. There may already be one, but I haven't found it yet. I was lucky enough to briefly talk with one of the organizers of a Westchester group. I have her contact info. so I hope she's ready for me to ask a million and one questions. I also spoke with the staff at Cormac's Dr.'s office, and they think it would be a great idea, and gave me some helpful tips and are already spreading the word! Free PR how great is that.
I want to create a place for parents like me to meet other parents to learn from and support each other. Make lists of local restaurants willing to work with people who have food allergies. Find out how to deal with schools to keep our kids safe but also keep the community happy. Basically I want to create a resource for people who have food allergies in Rockland County. I would also like to set up safe play dates for the kids and let them know they are not the only one with these challenges. So if you live in the Rockland County area and are interested please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no idea how to do this but am willing to try.
The other thing I want to mention today is what you can do in your community. Start small and simple. I was at the grocery store today and asked the manager if they carried the Enjoy Life products. They have products that are safe for people who are allergic to the most common allergens. For many people, these are some of the only packaged foods they can have due to a variety of allergies. When I asked her, we went to the computer to see if they had any, and of course they didn't have them. She asked me why I was interested. After explaining about kids and food allergies, and that we have to travel to other stores or order these products online, she offered to look into getting some in our store. I was grateful, but wasn't sure if she was serious. I thanked her and continued my shopping.
I ran into her again and she told me she had already e-mail their grocer to find out what they could get in the store. I was thrilled! She said to check in with her to see what happens. I think they will stock something there. They stock a bunch of specialty Irish items that you can't find in other places (we live in a large Irish community with strong ties to Ireland). If there are enough customers who know about and will buy these products, I think we may see them on the shelves.
So start small and ask your local grocery store to stock the allergy safe products you like. It helps to bring up other stores that have them, you know the competition. If they say no, nothing lost. If they say yes, well that makes your life better and easier.
If you have any ideas on how to make you community more food allergy aware, share here. One person can make a difference.