Sending Gluten-Free Food to Folks Impacted by Hurricane HarveyTricia Thompson
Please see updates at the bottom of post
This morning Chad from the San Antonio Food Bank called me. https://safoodbank.org/
The food bank is able to accept food donations by mail. They are aware of the necessity of gluten-free food for folks with celiac disease and NCGS.
If you would like to donate food:
- Please send non-perishable gluten-free food: Some possibilities include breakfast cereal, shelf-stable bread, such as Schar (please do not send food that must be kept in the freezer/fridge), Sun butter, snack bars, packages of dried fruit, shelf-stable meals, such as Tasty Bite, etc. The food bank does not have any special requests, as they are in need of most everything. (Note: they have an ample supply of shelf-stable “milk” of all kinds, including soy etc.).
- Please mark the outside of the box “Disaster Relief/Gluten-Free Food” in large bright letters. These boxes will be kept separate from other food donations and will be sent to where they are needed as requests are received.
- Please send your box to:
San Antonio Food Bank
5200 Enrique M. Barrera Parkway
San Antonio, Texas 78227
I will also be contacting Amazon and Vitacost to see whether they can somehow mark boxes as containing gluten-free food.
Gluten Free Watchdog will be sending food to Texas.
I will continue to provide updates.
Update 1 (Aug 31): I just spoke again with Laurie of the North Texas Food Bank. As food banks in other areas are able to accept donations via mail, she will let me know. A big issue is that mail delivery is not possible in many areas including to the Houston Food Bank at this time. Sept 2: Janet Rinehart of the Houston Celiac Support Group told me via email that mail delivery in her area started up again yesterday. She believes the GCCSA can accept food donations by mail. I will post additional information after contacting the food bank.
Update 2 (Sept 1): This information comes from a member of the GFWD community: If ordering from Thrive Market, they will place a memo on the shipping label. If you have a Thrive Market account, place the order as a gift order and then contact them and request the memo to be placed on the shipping label. They can’t label outside of the box otherwise.
Memo on shipping label Gluten Free Food Disaster Relief
Update 3 (Sept 1): This information comes from a member of the GFWD community: If ordering food via phone from Vitacost, they will include Disaster Relief Gluten Free Food in the address line of the shipping label. I have notified Chad at SAFB.
Update 4 (Sept 2): Manufacturers, if you would like to donate food, please consider working with the National Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Food Bank. They are coordinating gluten-free product donations. For more information see http://celiaccommunity.org/2017/hurricane-relief/.
Update 5 (Sept 4): Individuals, if you would like to make a monetary donation, please consider donating through the National Celiac Association. All monetary donations made through NCA will go towards providing gluten-free food to folks in Texas. For more information see https://www.nationalceliac.org/help-for-houston/
How are their clean water supplies? Just wondering if Montana Gluten Free Raw Oats could be used for the celiac flood victims? They are packed in very thick plastic bags.
Hi Pam, Gluten-free instant oatmeal that could be mixed with cold bottled water (if absolutely necessary) may be a good option.
Thank you Tricia! I just posted this in four celiac-related Facebook groups here in Minnesota to help spread the word.
Thank you, Laura!
Hi Tricia, Thanks to you and GFWD for doing the “leg work” and providing this information to us.
You are most welcome, Bonnie.
I wonder if someone can set up a gift registry with Amazon or a list with Vitacost so that we could quickly add specific items to our carts and get them sent out to the appropriate addresses? That might also help with being able to label the packages as disaster relief – gluten free food. Maybe they can include it as part of the actual shipping address like a c/o or attention line?
Are they delivering the gluten free foods to hurricane impacted areas?
According to the gentleman who called me this morning, food marked “disaster relief/gluten-free” will be put aside and sent out to food banks, food pantries, and shelters in Texas when requests are received.
I’m interested in reaching out to the local celiac groups here in Madison and throughout WI. I would be willing to contact local businesses who support the celiac community and anyone who is willing to participate. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Anna!
Anna, I posted something similar on a local St. Louis area FB page. I have dozens of drawstring backpacks with a large “My World is Gluten Free Because it Has to Be” on the outside that I decided to donate. I was looking for a way to gather and fill them and send them. They are bright orange so will really stand out. A representative from a local grocery store chain (who also has celiac) saw the post and offered a large meeting place in her store in St. Louis. We’re trying to get the word out to others in our area to meet there next Thursday, with a goal of filling 50 bags. Another store will be offering trucks to fill from the St. Louis area and will be transporting everything to Texas. We intend to load our (well labeled) boxes onto those trucks.
Thank you, Tricia, for being watchdog. Sending a box out today and will share info and instructions on Facebook.
Thank you, Phyllis!
Just from my personal perspective – Oats are sketchy (I cannot tolerate even the gluten-free ones), so I would steer clear as you don’t know if the recipients are the same way. Folks there are probably sorely lacking in proteins. I know nuts and seeds are risky because nuts are such a horrible allergen today, but for those who can stand them, things like Caveman bars are rich in fat and protein, as are Kind bars. Think Thin Protein Bars are dense in protein. Etc — Bread and cereal are good for carbs but will burn up in three hours. I traveled to India and worked for almost a week on nothing more than bars and fruits and soy milk and juice. So I think high cal is the way to go when making a decision. Folks there can’t refrigerate meat or grill. Imagine if you were to backpack for two weeks. Just my two cents. I hope this perspective is helpful.
All information and perspectives are helpful.
I think a mobile food truck with bone broth would be helpful to everyone. I’m wondering if there are any vendors who sell frozen broth commercially who could donate to a food truck that has a freezer unit and deep stock pot. The folks impacted need something warm, moist and bone broth will help them be hydrated, as well. Bonafide Provisions is a company that distributes on the west coast. Because water is an issue, I see a challenge with expecting foods to be cooked with water.
I eat lots of tuna packets! High in protein and shelf stable. Most importantly, gluten free. The ones in the sunflower oil are tastiest.
Lara Bars are good too!
Amazon requires a phone number to go with an address.
Please remember that unless the OUTSIDE of the shipping box is labeled “disaster relief/gluten-free food” it will likely not be set aside for folks who need gluten-free food. At this point, I am not sure Amazon can add this labeling to the outside of the box.
You can just put 999-999-9999. I’ve done that before when sending something to someone and I didn’t know their number. It got to them just fine.
Here is the number (210) 337-3663.
Thank you Tricia! We are opening a donation location in St. Louis area next Thursday, with a goal of filling 50 bright orange drawstring backpacks that have a large “GLUTEN FREE” on the outside. The St. Louis are Schnucks stores will be sending a truck with items. We intend to send our boxes of bags on these trucks. Thank you for all the information. We will be sure to properly label the boxes.
Thank you, Debbie!
Wow… This is awesome… BIG THANK YOU!!!
A few of the guys (Retired Army Engineers) I know that has been organizing & collectting food donations and will be delivering several semis full of food. 🙂 also….
I made the suggestion about Gluten free … plus of allergy sensitive foods a filled them in as much as I could for a crash course.
Thank you, Paula!
It’s great to see how many people want to help. However, to have the greatest impact, send money, not food. Unless you are a gluten-free manufacturer that can donate at cost, food banks generally prefer you donate the money you would have spent instead of mailing them products you buy. They can make your dollar go much farther. The task force is collecting information on which food banks can accept monetary donations that are designated for gluten-free/allergy-friendly foods. So far we know that the San Antonio Food Bank can, and we’ll post updates here as we learn more http://celiaccommunity.org/2017/hurricane-relief/. For an explanation of why it’s more effective for individuals to donate money than food: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/22/142661882/a-case-for-cash-donations-instead-of-cans
Hi Jennifer, I agree in theory that monetary donations from individuals are (in general) best. But… the folks I’ve spoken with in Texas are happy to receive gluten-free food from any donor. According to NTFB, they receive requests for gluten-free food when times are good and have difficulty fulfilling these requests. They anticipate the requests for gluten-free food to increase as the recovery from Hurricane Harvey takes weeks, months, and maybe years. The task force is doing an AWESOME job but if individuals are able to get food to Texas quickly that is a good thing. The folks at these food banks are working around the clock. It is unlikely that they have a lot of time to go shopping for gluten-free food in the immediate aftermath of this disaster. This is the reason to get food to Texas asap (from Gluten Free Watchdog’s Facebook page): “Yesterday when I was volunteering making grocery boxes for those in need, I came across 1 only box of Glutino crackers. It broke my heart to know someone out there may be in need of GF food and may not have access to it.” Gluten Free Watchdog greatly appreciates all the individuals and local support groups that have or are planning to send food to Texas. When information is available from the task force on monetary donations that can be targeted for gluten-free food, an update will be posted.
Thanks, Tricia – great information and a good point about needs in the immediate aftermath. Individual product donations at the beginning of the relief effort will help feed those who need it before larger donations from GF/allergy-friendly companies start arriving, hopefully this coming week. Please be aware that Houston Food Bank told us it requires a donation to be at least a pallet before it is entered into the system as GF and separated out. We’ll post updates here as we learn more http://celiaccommunity.org/2017/hurricane-relief/.
Agree about Houston Food Bank. Per Janet Rinehart (Houston Celiac Support Group), gluten-free donations in Houston should be made to GCCSA. As you know, the situation is fluid so this information may change.