Collecting food donations is a great way to help out those in need in the community, but it’s easy to forget that not all diets are made the same.
Students at Upper Pine School kept those dietary restrictions in mind recently and stepped up to collect allergen-free foods during its annual food drive.
Organized by teacher-librarian Susan Gilmour, the food drive helped raise awareness of the many different allergies people can have.
“This had been one of the more successful food drives we’ve had at the school because the kids were really into it; they really got it,” she said.
The school usually hosts a food drive every year, but decided to try the allergy-friendly food drive after Gilmour discovered the idea on summeroftag.com, a website from Food Allergy Canada that challenges schools to hold such an event.
A different allergen was featured for each of the 10 days of the food drive. On day one, peanut-free items were collected; on day two, the focus was on milk-free items. Students also collected food items that contained no eggs, no fish, no soy, no shellfish, no sesame, no wheat, no mustard, and no tree nuts.
Gilmour had a sign-up sheet for what kind of food was being collected for the day, and another saying what was being collected the following day.
“There would be kids in the morning that dropped their stuff off, and then later kids would take a look at the labels to see whether or not that stuff was in it,” said Gilmour. “It really made sense to them.
The food collected at Upper Pine will be donated to the Fort St. John Salvation Army food bank.