The Food Bank Project is a program of the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California
We are working with food banks and pantries in Northern California to create greater awareness about the need for gluten-free and allergy-friendly food assistance and improve capacity to meet that need.
- Food insecurity and hunger in the United States have risen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, with 1 in 5 children reportedly not getting enough to eat.
- One of our trusted collaborators, the National Celiac Association (NCA), is undertaking a pilot initiative called Giving Gluten Free to help stock eligible food banks around the country with gluten-free food for the increasing number of households that need food assistance due to Covid-19.
- In order to accept NCA’s assistance, food banks need to have a system in place for managing gluten-free donations and distributing them to those with a medical need.
- In May 2020, our foundation launched the Food Bank Project to help us address this problem for gluten-free and food allergy families in Northern California, in collaboration with the National Celiac Association.
Food Bank Project Team
Suzanne MacDonald, RD
Liaison to the Board
The NCA has run a Gluten-Free Food Bank in Massachusetts for years, and with Covid-19 it has been receiving substantially increased requests for GF food assistance at its own network of food pantries and at collaborating food banks in other states.
This is not our first experience with disaster relief. From 2017-18, during hurricanes, fires, floods and mudslides, our foundation was a founding member of the Gluten-Free Disaster Relief Task Force. In addition to our foundation, the Task Force included the National Celiac Association, the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Gluten-Free Watchdog.
Due to the unique and unprecedented characteristics of the pandemic, our response will be quite different from previous disaster relief and we will be learning as we proceed. Your feedback is always welcome, below or by email. We also encourage potential partners to contact us (manufacturers, nonprofits, etc.).
While the focus of the project is on gluten-free food, there is overlap with allergy-friendly products, and we would like to support both. Our hope is that any changes food banks make during the pandemic will become permanent, providing greater food security for families with medical dietary needs both on a regular basis and during emergencies.