The Gluten-Free Disaster Relief Task Force, a national coalition, helps provide people with celiac disease and food allergies access to safe food and other resources following natural disasters

Last updated: March 29, 2018

Southern California

Help those in need recover from the double natural disasters of wildfire and mudslides

Donate: http://www.unityshoppe.org/ways-to-give/  Click on the Disaster Support Fund donate button

IMPORTANT! Be sure to write in the section “Add special instructions to the seller” that you want the money to be used for the purchase of gluten-free supplies.

Extensive wildfires and mudslides have impacted the lives of thousands of people in Southern California this fall and winter, and the impact is ongoing and longterm, particularly for vulnerable segments of the population. As a result of devastating mudslides, mandatory evacuation was in effect for several weeks in January and February for the 10,000 residents and business owners of Montecito, as well as their employees who could not reach their jobs or now no longer have a job to return to. Nearby Ventura and L.A. counties also suffered greatly from losses due to fire and will for the next few years as the areas rebuild. Our hearts go out to everyone who has lost family, friends, animals and their homes.

Previously, the Gluten-Free Disaster Relief Task Force directed financial donations to purchase gluten-free food for those recovering from massive fires in Northern California and we would like to do the same for Southern California. We can help support the ongoing recovery of those impacted by these disasters who must follow the gluten-free diet. The Unity Shoppe, a 100-year old non-profit food and resource organization in Santa Barbara, is the lead case management site for the long-term recovery efforts for Montecito, Ventura and Santa Barbara. If you make a donation earmarked for the purchase of gluten-free food they will use it to buy supplies for members of the community in need of gluten-free supplies.

If you hear of other food banks or resource centers that accept financial donations specifically for gluten-free food in the Los Angeles area, please contact Nicola Harrington of The Gluten-Free Food Bank at the National Celiac Association: Phone: 1-888-4-CELIAC Email: glutenfreefoodbank@nationalceliac.org  Questions? Contact Unity Shoppe directly or Nicola Harrington.

Disclaimer: Although we are doing our best to post accurate information, please confirm information before acting on it. Our Task Force is not tracking donations that are made using this list, nor is it responsible for how donations are used.

About the Gluten-Free Disaster Relief Task Force

The task force was founded by the following individuals and institutions in response to the devastating series of hurricanes and wildfires in fall 2017 and continues to provide aid as needed around the country:

The Task Force worked on relief efforts in 2017 with the extensive assistance of Erin Smith of Gluten Free Fun/ Gluten Free Globetrotter, and coordinated informally with the Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond CeliacGluten Intolerance Group and Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE).

Articles on the Task Force:

Task Force Sends Gluten-Free Food to Disaster Victims
by Susie Marie Flaherty, MassGeneral Hospital for Children

Staying Safe in a GF Disaster Situation
by Nicola Harrington, National Celiac Association

PAST disaster relief postings:

Donations are no longer being solicited for special funds, but the food banks listed have ongoing needs, and it takes years to fully recover from a major natural disaster.

Fires in Northern California – October 2017

Donations
Due to community generosity and reduced need, we are no longer accepting donations designated to provide gluten-free and allergy-friendly food for fire evacuees and those who lost homes. Of course, we welcome donations to our general fund, which help provide free community resources year round.

Loss of Home
If you lost your home in the fire and need safe food for your medically-prescribed dietary restriction as you rebuild your life, please send an email to info@celiaccommunity.org with some basic information about your needs and location. We can provide gluten-free and allergen-friendly food, and if you are in a shelter or shared kitchen situation we can work with the kitchen, or your friends and family, regarding storage and preparation.

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.

Manufacturer donations
Thanks to the assistance of the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo, several pallets of food were donated by manufacturers to our fire relief effort after the Expo in San Mateo on Nov. 19th, 2017, and subsequently distributed to our community members. We donated the remaining products (250lbs) to the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Donating companies: Enjoy Life Foods, BFree, Daiya, Little Northern Bakehouse, Veggicopia, GoCo, Aleia’s, Wellaby’s, Mozaics, Namaste, Baby Mum-Mum, Dimply’s Rub & Grill, Sunbutter, Wowbutter, Lundberg, Freedom Foods, GoMacro.

Product Donations
Thank you for your interest, but we do not have a storage and distribution process for individual or additional manufacturer product donations for this disaster relief effort.

Whole Foods
We would like to offer our appreciation to Whole Foods in Sebastopol, CA, for partnering with us to provide gift cards to fire evacuees in need of food due to medical dietary restrictions. The assistance of store managers and staff was kind, generous and immediate.

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Hurricanes – August/September 2017

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) posted 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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Please note: Disaster relief efforts are complex and constantly changing. There will inevitably be errors and omissions when we post information during a disaster and its immediate aftermath. Please send corrections to info@celiaccommunity.org.

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