It’s the most wonderful time of the year for gluten-free people! Time to spring-clean your pantry of any excess gluten-free food and make room for your fresh haul from Gluten Free Garage! Then, bring the GF products that you’re discarding to GFG for a donation to the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK.
GFree Wifey Jessica Danford is on a mission to raise awareness about celiac disease while advocating access to safe food for all. “Food insecurity is a growing concern in Canada, with more than 1 million people accessing a food bank each month. Those of us who are medically required to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet know how costly it can be. This motivated me to focus my energy on advocating access to safe food for people experiencing food insecurity.”
This year for #GFG19, the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK has partnered with Second Harvest. Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue organization, rescuing over 12.3 million pounds of fresh, surplus food and delivering it to a broad network of over 373 social service agencies. Second Harvest in turn has chosen Wychwood Open Door—a day-time drop-in centre serving homeless and socially isolated people in Toronto’s midtown St. Clair West community since 1986—to be the recipient of the total food drive collection at Gluten Free Garage, as a portion of their clients requires access to safe gluten-free food.
GFree Wifey will have collection bins set up at the entrance to the event. GFG attendees can drop off their non-perishable gluten-free donations when they arrive or they can support their favourite GFG vendors and “buy two, donate one.” Vendors are encouraged to contribute any excess food they have at the end of the event to minimize food waste or to contact GFree Wifey to schedule a pickup.
These are the most-needed gluten-free items for the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK:
• GF flour blends and oats (must be uncontaminated)
• GF pasta and rice
• GF crackers, breads, granola, cereal
• non-perishable fruit and vegetables
• nut and seed butters
• canned meats and seafood
• GF sauces, condiments and seasonings
• alternative sugar options
• non-dairy milk: coconut, soy, rice, hemp or nut
We asked Jessica what inspired her to start the GFree Wifey Food Bank. Here is what she said:
“Celiac disease affects 1‑3% of the population and gluten-free products cost on average 242% more than regular food products. In my own personal experiences with community food banks and food programs in the past, I know that the knowledge of gluten free was limited and the shelf-stable foods at relief centres, like pasta, crackers and soups, tend to be gluten based. As someone with celiac disease myself, knowing the importance of maintaining a gluten-free life and what that means, I strongly believe that people in a desperate situation should not have to choose between health and hunger. I remember thinking ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ and walking away with a food supply that I could not eat and no one understanding what I was really asking for. Let’s educate and advocate access to safe food for all.”
Second Harvest has created a GFree Wifey page on its website for anyone who wishes to make a monetary donation in lieu of food. “It’s so exciting that Second Harvest has committed to adding gluten-free options in enrollment pages that were not present prior to the GFree Wifey partnership,” Jessica says. “Yay for behind-the-scene real change in the world!”
Click here to make a donation to Second Harvest through the #GFREEWIFEYFOODBANK.
Catch up with GFree Wifey on epsiode 48 of A Canadian Celiac Podcast as she chats with host Sue Jennett.