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Two articles discuss the challenges that allergies cause for people newly facing food insecurity due to COVID-19; and look at whether food insecurity is associated with asthma; study results conflict. According to the Associated Press, for millions in the US newly experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those with food allergies and intolerances are facing “a particular crisis” in that most charitable and government food programs offer limited options that are safely edible. The Food Equality Initiative and Porchlight Community Services are two organizations dedicated to supporting those clients. 34 OctOber 2021 Inhalation Back Pages Food allergies increase challenges for people facing food insecurity e Associated Press article, "Food allergies complicate hungry Amer- icans' search for meals," reported that, for millions of Americans newly experiencing food inse- curity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those with food aller- gies and intolerances are fac- ing "a particular crisis" in that most charitable and government food programs offer limited food options that are safely edible for those clients. Limited safe food options, even with government assistance Under normal conditions, food pantries may offer gluten-free products or display information about allergen content. How- ever, in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic, most pantries have been forced to limit food options and have changed to contactless distribution models, where clients drive up to obtain a pre-packaged bag of food. e AP article also explained that clients using government assis- tance programs find similar chal- lenges. e United States Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offers beans as a substitute for peanut butter (an impractical option for making sandwiches) and soy milk as a substitute for cow's milk, but some people can- not tolerate either type. e Supplemental Nutrition Assis- tance Program (SNAP), sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. (i.e., food stamps) enables families to make their own food choices. However, specialized foods like gluten- free bread or sunflower seed butter are often much more expensive; in some stores, costing two to four times that of conventional products. The Food Equality Initiative Emily Brown was confronted with a similar challenge more than eight years ago when attempt- ing to find food at a pantry for her two-year-old who has multi- ple food allergies. e only items her daughter could tolerate were potatoes and salsa! Believing that other families had the same need, she founded the Food Equality Initiative (FEI) in 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2015, FEI and the New Haven SDA Church launched ReNewed Health, the first allergy-friendly and gluten-free food pantry in the United States. Today, the Food Equality Initia- tive supports approximately 200 families with food allergies or celiac disease (i.e., gluten intoler- ance), providing them $150 per month to use in an online market- place that offers allergy-friendly foods. Some clients use the ben- efit to supplement government food assistance programs. As FEI explains on their website, "by sub- sidizing the extra costs of foods free from allergies and gluten, FEI [can] help ease the financial and psychological strain of a diag- nosis of food -related illness on under- resourced individuals and families."

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