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Nationwide Movement To Get Gluten Free Food Into Food Banks Begins In Loveland Colorado

2009 December 3
by Gluten Free Dee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 3, 2009                                                                                                                                 Contact:     Dee Valdez, Gluten Free Dee, (c) 970-308-1062

Erin Becerra, House of Neighborly Service, 565 N. Cleveland Ave, Loveland, CO 800537, 970-667-4939

Nationwide Movement To Get Gluten Free Food Into Food Banks Begins In Loveland Colorado

“There is a great need to develop a systematic approach to establishing Gluten Free Food Banks across the nation,” says Dee Valdez, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 17 years ago.  About 15 years ago, Valdez remembers talking to a mother with a sick 7 year old who had Celiac Disease.  The exasperated mom said she had to choose between feeding her whole family or just feeding her sick daughter the very expensive gluten free food she could find.  The distraught mother said, referring to her Celiac daughter, “She’s just going to have to live with diarrhea. “

“I was devastated by her reality,” says Valdez, “so I gathered as much gluten free food as I could and left it on her doorstep.  Unfortunately, my reality didn’t allow me to help parents like her again, until now.”

Loveland’s House of Neighborly Service will be the test site for the new program Valdez is designing to be implemented in communities across the country.  There are scattered efforts to gather gluten free food for the holidays or offer a monthly gift card to help offset the extra expense of a gluten free diet.  “What I see that is missing is a systematic approach to feeding gluten free families in need,” say Valdez.  “If someone has Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, they can become very ill in the short and long term if they eat gluten containing food because that is all they have.” Bread is plentiful in food banks across the country.  Gluten free bread is not.  Valdez, or Gluten Free Dee, as she is called, intends to change that.

Gluten free food donations are now being accepted at House of Neighborly Service, 565 N. Cleveland, Loveland, CO 80537.  It is asked that the food be identified as such when dropped off.  Anyone available to deliver their gluten free food Tuesday, December 8, between 4 – 6 pm can be part of an exclusive group dedicating the new gluten free section of the existing food bank with a Ribbon Cutting, Press Conference and Festivities.

“We are excited to be able to provide an option for people with gluten sensitivities who are financially struggling, especially considering the cost of a gluten free diet,” says Erin Becerra House of Neighborly Service (HNS) Food Program Manager.

HNS provides food baskets for an average of more than 500 Loveland/Berthoud area households each month.  The mission of the food program is to provide wholesome food to nourish people who are food-insecure.

Although only about 1% of the U.S. population has Celiac disease, new gluten free food manufacturer General Mills says its research shows about 12% of U.S. households want to eliminate or reduce their gluten intake.

July 2, 2009 article             For General Mills, Wheat-Free Items Are Tricky to Make, Cheap to Market

“I honestly don’t know how many additional people will come in for help knowing that we now have gluten free food available and how many of the families we are already serving will take advantage of this new option,” says Becerra.  “I believe that we will be able to provide assistance with the help of our generous community, and the support of gluten free food manufacturers and retailers who are willing to donate products for those who cannot afford them.”

Families in need of gluten free food, who live in the Berthoud, Loveland areas served by House of Neighborly Service need to be screened for services Monday – Thursday.  Please call 970-667-4939 to find out the appropriate paperwork to bring to determine eligibility.

“This is an opportunity to be part of a group setting a precedent that will spread nationwide,” says Valdez.  “We can make a difference.  We can change someone’s life.”

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

4:00 – 6:00 pm

4:00 – 4:15           Music and Gluten Free Snacks, Tours of Gluten Free Pantry, Locals Bringing Donations, Interview Opportunities

4:15 – 4:45            Press Conference, Gluten Free Dee, House of Neighborly Service Officials, Celiac Sprue Association Representatives

4:45 – 5:00           Gluten Free Food Manufacturer Challenge to Donate

Rich Schneider, Product Developer, Gluten Free Sandwich Petals by Denver’s Raquelita’s Tortillas

5:00 – 5:15           Ribbon Cutting and Dedication, First Family Receives Gluten Free Food Basket

5:15 – 6:00           Music and Gluten Free Snacks, Tours of Gluten Free Pantry, Interview Opportunities

Media – Please give us a tentative RSVP so we can reserve a parking spot in the overcrowded parking lot adjacent to House of Neighborly Service

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