A new food pantry just for families diagnosed with food allergies or Celiac Disease opened today with a formal ribbon cutting at Community Assistance Council, 10901 Blue Ridge Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri.
Food Equality Initiative and Community Assistance Council are pleased to announce their partnership will give families requiring special diets better access to the foods they need to maintain their health.
“After opening our first location in Overland Park, Kansas, we quickly realized the transportation barrier for families in Missouri to reach our pantry. Common interests connected us with the council, and talks began, resulting in a partnership to establish CAC-SAFE,” said Emily Brown, chief executive officer of Food Equality Initiative and member of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition. CAC-SAFE is the designation for those allergy-free and gluten-free foods that will be distributed through the council.
“A separate pantry name was needed to help our staff and volunteers become cognizant of dietary requirements. SAFE stands for ‘Suitable Allergy Friendly Edibles.’ It’s a quick reference to those families using these services,” said Carol Bird Owsley, Executive Director of the council.
Services are limited to eligible familiesPantry services began July 22 and appointments are required. All families are screened through Food Equality Initiative. Families must meet income guidelines (at or below 250% of federal poverty level), and have a doctor’s diagnosis and signed diet order. At this time, services are available only to families who live in Missouri and are diagnosed with food allergies or Celiac Disease.
“Families experiencing these chronic allergies and Celiac Disease learn firsthand how expensive required foods are to purchase. Providing pantry options for them to shop for these foods takes away barriers that keep them from living healthy lives,” Brown said.
“Especially for families first diagnosed, there is a huge learning curve regarding what is good for their family member, and what is bad. The stress can be overwhelming,” said Owsley. “Any way we can help a family—such as offering services closer to their homes, will enable them to better deal with the other concerns in their lives. We love this partnership, where we can use FEI’s expertise and knowledge, while helping Missouri families improve their situation.”
Community Assistance Council offers a food pantry, clothes closet, rent/utility assistance and a host of seasonal programs. The only social service agency physically located in south Kansas City, Missouri will celebrate 40 years of service in September.
The Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition is an alliance of individuals, government representatives, businesses, and organizations representing all critical components of our local food system, including healthcare, agriculture, education, social services, food distribution, government, private business, nonprofit agencies, and others.