On May 27th I was given the opportunity to run the latest GFREEWIFEY FOODBANK at Gluten Free Garage 2018 to benefit the Canadian red cross mobile food bank. I announced my goal to Fit the Fit full of glutenfree non-perishables and did we ever fill it!
Gfreewifey foodbank started partnering with different community organizations in 2017. I was constantly sharing my glutenfree life as GFREEWIFEY, which really had me thinking back to when I used the help of different food programs. I was once given a food hamper with a package of wheat pasta, tomato sauce, a can of kidney beans and a couple boxes of mac and cheese. After talking about eating glutenfree, this is what was in hand as I walked out and the words ringing in my head beggars cant be choosers. The wrong mindset and completely unsafe for someone with Celiac Disease. Celiac means we have to be glutenfree, you do NOT chose to be. Maintaining a strict 100% glutenfree diet is a medical requirement. This experience coupled with my joy of blogging has driven my passion for advocating access to safe food.
Gluten Free Garage is a once a year pop up market. GFG was founded in 2012 by the amazing RonniLyn Pustil, When her daughter Lily was diagnosed with Celiac at the age of 3. Lily is now a leader in the gfree community motivating kids her age and everyone else too! Not to mention the reason we all have this amazing event each year, to discover new glutenfree brands, hear talks, demos and presentations on all things Glutenfree. The whole event is celiac safe, filled with tummy love and over 65 glutenfree vendors. This year I had the opportunity to join lily on a panel of glutenfree ladies from across Toronto.
SO MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE!
I am honestly blown away by the support from the community. When I was diagnosed I took to the internet just like so many of you and so many more will… and you find this community that is supportive excited and always sharing tips, hacks and blunders.
My sister and I spent an afternoon counting and sorting all the amazing donations you brought. Can you believe together
we collected 204 items weighing in at 185 POUNDS.
People came to GFG from all over the country. You all came hauling bags of food for people in our community! Did you know the Red cross mobile food bank services people with disabilities from Mississauga all the way to Scarborough and everything in between who otherwise would not be able to get out to another food programs to eat. Clients are referred by a social worker, doctor or community agency and feed 100- 200 people on a 2 week rotation.
Thanks to some awesome vendors who donated what was left at the end of the day!
TOGETHER THIS IS WHAT WE COLLECTED…
Over 50 packs of GF pasta, 35 cans of beans and vegetables, 21 GF flour blends, 10 packs of rice or quinoa, and so much more…even some protein shake powders; which are an amazing donations because protein is always on the top of the most wanted list!
When I arrived at the Red Cross they couldn’t believe we accomplished this in one day! I am overwhelmed with gratitude that so many people took the call to action and recognize that not only is hunger a huge issue close to home, inclusive support is needed. Celiac life can be costly especially when eating non perishable packed foods. Regular pantry items can be scarce at the foodbank, so thank you for ensuring access to safe glutenfree food with me.
The shelf behind this one was nearly empty… and that is the food for the following baskets go. Martha gladly gave me a tour and showed me the fridge where they store items provided by other community programs like Daily bread or second harvest. This story is not exclusive to Martha’s team. Every food bank is unfortunately struggling to keep up with demand.
In the summer months the 65% of food bank users are no longer in school with access to food programs so please keep feeding your neighbors. I urge you to remember BUY TWO DONATE ONE through out the year when shopping. The glutenfree community is growing they used to say 1% are affected by celiac that number has increase to 3% with food bank uses at all time highs remember we have each others backs online with support recipes and life hacks lets do it in RL too! See you next year at GFG19! I will be at the gates again to meet everyone while collecting the most needed glutenfree pantry items for the people in our community who need it.