Kids With Food Allergies introduces you to Tiffany Rogers of Allergy Cookie, where she shares top-8 free cookie ideas and thoughts about parenting with food allergies. She is the mom of a child with multiple severe food allergies, wife of a husband with food allergy sensitivities, and manages a few allergies of her own. Please welcome Tiffany, a support group leader in Utah with the No Nuts Moms Group, as she shares her thoughts on food allergy awareness:
Food allergy awareness month is here! Food allergy moms, dads and friends are counting on you to get involved. Why create awareness, you ask? To move people to take action.
Before I had a child with a disability, I used to see awareness campaigns for different conditions. I'd pause for a moment of sympathy and then go on with my busy life. Now that I have a child with a food allergy, I'm beginning to grasp the purpose of these campaigns.
One person, company, or organization can only do so much to meet the individual needs of kids with food allergies. However, when millions of people unite to understand the needs that exist, they can move mountains.
By working together, we can support, uplift, accommodate, include, and empathize. Not because someone has asked, but because we understand those needs and care for those who have them.
Kids with food allergies definitely have particular needs.
Tiffany with Cuen, 8, and Ashael, 3
Our kids want to be normal like everyone else. They want to attend birthday parties, go out to eat with family and friends, and vacation without worrying about reactions in far-off places.
As young adults, they'll date, attend weddings and business receptions, or travel for work.
Our children will have a more meaningful, seamless and, yes, safer experience doing these things when the wider world understands their needs.
What can you do to help? Here are three simple ideas for starters:
1. Reach out to your local community and start talking
Start a conversation about what it is really like to:
• go on playdates and make new friends
• attend birthday parties
• participate in classroom activities that involve food you are allergic to
• consider training babysitters in your neighborhood
• do a short presentation at a PTO meeting at your child’s school
• pass out flyers to local restaurants asking them to be more allergy-aware
• talk to your child’s classmates about how they can help keep kids with food allergies safe and included.
Your personalized approach will help make the needs of food allergy families more real to others and motivate them to take these needs seriously.
My own child with food allergies is still too young to attend school. But when I help plan events at his older brother’s school, I often take the lead by:
By simply setting an example of inclusion, I am not only showing others that it is important to keep all kids safe and included, but I’m also showing them just how simple and easy it is to do.
2. Share via social media
Kids With Food Allergies can help you educate in short and simple ways, through shareable resources, webinars and more. By sharing these along with your own positive, personal experiences and success stories, you are able to inspire others and deliver information.
Personally, I find that when I share how thankful and appreciative I am for those who include my child (or share life-saving success stories), I get more positive comments than if I post something argumentative or inflammatory. Positive stories move people to act with a sincere desire to understand and help.
Fundraising is another great way to influence change. No matter the amount, the dollars from many who fundraise while spreading local awareness add up quickly. Taken together, it has the ability to drive initiatives forward.
I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer on fundraising teams in the past. I have personally seen how the power of just a few dollars from many different people can add up to significant amounts. That helps fund awareness, outreach programs, and research. Nothing compares to the positive feelings you generate when you know that you helped make a difference in your community.
In addition to hosting your own fundraisers, you can contribute to Kids With Food Allergies with your everyday purchases. Use this Amazon referral link next time you stock up on nut-free butters, allergen-free chocolate, or even a big purchase like a TV, and a portion will go back to Kids With Food Allergies. Also, check out their bookshop if you are looking to bring awareness to your school library with a donation.
How are you spreading awareness this month? Share your ideas on the KFA Community Forums!