Providing people with celiac disease and food allergies access to safe food and other resources following natural disasters

Last updated: October 17, 2017

Our foundation is a founding member of the Gluten-Free Disaster Relief Task Force led by celiac centers at Harvard-affiliated hospitals and nonprofits in Boston (see below). It is facilitating gluten-free/allergy-friendly product donations and distribution as well as designated monetary donations.

1. FIRES IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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DONATIONS
All donations in October and November 2017 will automatically go to the Northern California fire disaster relief effort in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. One hundred percent of donated funds will go to gluten-free and allergy-free food assistance and distribution for those who have a medical need and have been evacuated, lost their home or had their food destroyed by smoke damage. We are an all-volunteer foundation.

EVACUEES
If you have been evacuated and need safe food for your medically-prescribed dietary restriction, please send an email to info@celiaccommunity.org with some basic information (number of people, ages, best contact, dietary restrictions, level of urgency, location/shelter). We will try to get gluten-free and allergen-friendly food to you, and if you are in a shelter we can work with the kitchen there regarding storage and preparation.

FOOD TYPES
We can provide foods that would not normally be found in a shelter (i.e. gluten-free/allergy-free products such as bread, snacks, bars, jerky, canned soups and stews, non-peanut nut or seed butters, cereal, etc.). The shelters should be able to provide things like produce, peanut butter, meat, dairy and eggs).

DELIVERY LIMITATIONS
Our delivery may be temporarily limited by mandatory evacuations, curfews and the request by first responders to generally stay off the roads. However, we will do what we can to assist.

EVACUATION CENTERS
The evacuation center at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building has a kitchen run by our celiac community member Jennifer Torrey and she is volunteering her time every day to prepare 500 meals three times a day for all dietary restrictions, including celiac disease and food allergies. So far, she has all the donated food and volunteers she needs. You can also stay at the two evacuation centers at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds (Grace Pavilion is for the medically fragile and Finley Hall is for those with pets) and walk across the street to the Veterans building to get meals. If you aren’t ambulatory, they can take you in a wheelchair or bring the meals to you. Many more evacuation centers are listed online, but it is unknown if they can serve special dietary needs.

FOOD BANK
The Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa, which serves the North Bay at 177 food pantries, 60 shelters and ad hoc locations such as parking lots and campgrounds, cannot separate gluten-free/allergy food during a disaster, but they are alerting us to needs at specific locations and helping get the word out about our offer of assistance.

PRODUCT DONATIONS
At this time, we are only accepting monetary donations, as we do not yet have a storage and distribution process for individual or manufacturer product donations. We will update this when we have more information. If you are a manufacturer and would like to donate, please contact Jennifer Iscol jiscol@celiaccommunity.org.

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2. HURRICANES

Monetary donations for hurricane relief

The National Celiac Association set up two donation funds to help get gluten-free food to food banks in areas of Texas and Florida affected by the hurricanes. Donations from the NCA fund to food banks are designated for gluten-free products, some of which are also allergy-friendly. 100% of the funds will be used for this disaster relief effort, as NCA is absorbing the administrative costs. Donate to the National Celiac Association funds:
Fund for Texas  https://www.nationalceliac.org/help-for-houston/
Fund for Florida https://www.nationalceliac.org/help-for-hurricanes/

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Product donations for hurricane relief

With the support of the task force, the National Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Food Bank is coordinating gluten-free product donations to food banks. Companies that wish to donate should contact the NCA Gluten-Free Food Bank, which is providing detailed information (donation size, addresses, requirements) and coordinating donations to make it easier for both the donating companies and the recipient food banks.

Contacts for companies to make gluten-free product donations to food banks:
Nicola Harrington,
Director, NCA Gluten-Free Food Bank glutenfreefoodbank@nationalceliac.org

  • We are maintaining a list of food banks accepting gluten-free and allergy-friendly donations
  • All donated food must be non-perishable and shelf stable, ideally for at least six months from the time of donation
  • All donated food must be clearly labeled “DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD” or “DISASTER RELIEF/ALLERGY-FRIENDLY FOOD”
  • Donating companies are encouraged to split their product donations between multiple food banks, as the food banks distribute to different areas and organizations and would all appreciate a mix of products. We can help with this.

Please note: Individual donors are encouraged to make monetary donations, rather than product donations. Food banks can purchase food at better rates than individuals, so monetary donations have greater impact.

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FOOD BANKS IN HURRICANE AREAS

We gathered this information directly from the food banks and are sharing it publicly to help food manufacturers that wish to make direct donations without NCA assistance.  It is also a way to let recipients know where to find gluten-free/allergy-friendly food.

Disclaimer: Although we are doing our best to post accurate information, please confirm information before acting on it; the situation in a disaster zone is prone to incomplete information, errors and changing circumstances. Our Task Force is not tracking donations that are made using this list, nor is it responsible for how donations are used.

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Food Banks in Florida

1. Treasure Coast Food Bank

Make a monetary donation hereInstructions: Click on the Hurricane Irma Donate button from the pop up on the home page and then the Donate Now button. There will be a space in PayPal to “Add special instructions to the seller” where people can designate their donation accordingly.

Product donations
Address: 401 Angle Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34947
ContactAny donation of a pallet or more should be scheduled with the Operations Department to ensure quick and timely drop off at our warehouse. Please contact Casey Corbett at 772-489-5676 or ccorbett@tcfoodbank.org
Labeling: Important to label as “DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD”
NotesMonetary donations are always preferred, but they will take any type of food donation with appreciation. Can accept any size donations. They will post on their website and social media the locations where people in need of this food can access them in their service area. They can also provide this list to anyone calling their office. 

2. Feeding South Florida

https://feedingsouthflorida.org/
Make a general monetary donation here.

Product donations
Address: Main warehouse is 2501 SW 32 Terrace, Pembroke Park, FL 33023
Contact: Cagney Kobrin on (954) 518-1818 ext. 1862
Labeling: Important to label as “DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD”
Notes:  They are working with the public health department to identify people on medical diets who need special food. They can accept food packages of any size. Anyone who needs to access gluten-free/allergy food can contact Cagney Kobrin on (954) 518-1818 ext. 1862.  Feeding South Florida’s service area includes the Florida Keys.

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Food Banks in Texas

1. San Antonio Food Bank

https://safoodbank.org/
Make a monetary donation here Can accept monetary donations designated for gluten-free or allergy-friendly food. 
Instructions: If you would like your donation to go to gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods, add that to the “Notes” section of the online form.

Product donations
Address: 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78227
Contact: rplumlee@safoodbank.org
Labeling: Important to label as DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD
Notes: Products labeled DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD will be set aside and sent to agencies that request it. Can take pallets and mailed in donations. Must be clearly labeled on outside of package to be designated gluten-free on intake.

2. Food Bank of the Golden Crescent

http://www.victoriafoodbank.org/
Make a general monetary donation here

Product donations
Address: 3809 E. Rio Grande, Victoria, TX 77901
Contact: (361) 578-0591 Francis Santella fsantellana@feedingamerica.org
Labeling: Important to label as DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD
Notes: Products that are labeled gluten-free will be set aside and distributed by request. Please email contact above about incoming product. Make clear it is gluten-free. Contact was not aware of how many requests they get for gluten-free food, but was willing to inform food pantries and partners about its availability. Can take pallets. Need to confirm smaller sizes.

3. Gulf Coast Community Services Association

https://www.gccsa.org/
Make a general monetary donation here

Product donations
Address: 9320 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77054
Contact: Suzanne Garcia (713) 393-4783  garcias@gccsa.org
Labeling: Important to label as DISASTER RELIEF/GLUTEN-FREE FOOD
Notes: Have gluten-free section in pantry. Accepts large and small donations. Happy to take anything, but healthier products preferred.

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ALLERGEN-FRIENDLY PRODUCT DONATIONS

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has a post on food allergy donations for Texas:
http://blog.foodallergy.org/2017/08/28/relief-efforts-underway-in-houston-and-the-surrounding-areas/

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ABOUT THE GLUTEN-FREE DISASTER RELIEF TASK FORCE

The task force organizing these efforts is being led by individuals representing the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for ChildrenCeliac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, National Celiac Association and its Gluten-Free Food Bank, Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California and Gluten Free Watchdog.

The task force is working with the assistance or coordination of the Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac,  Gluten Intolerance Group and Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE).

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Please note: Disaster relief efforts are complex and constantly changing. There will inevitably be errors and omissions. Please send corrections, updates or suggestions for this page to Jennifer Iscol of the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California.

Photo credits: Fire photo by Keith Johnson, hurricane photo from FEMA