The Food Equality Initiative (FEI) and Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City (JFS) are partnering to give food-insecure families with food allergies and celiac disease more access to the foods needed to maintain their health. JFS will offer special shopping appointments one day a month at the JFS Brookside Pantry, 425 E. 63rd Street, Kansas City, Missouri for qualifying families. The first family shopping sessions will begin Nov. 19 (by appointment).
“We’re excited about this partnership and pantry because it gives more access for people with food allergies and celiac disease,” said Emily Brown, FEI Chief Executive Officer.
The FEI “pantry within a pantry” serves those with food allergies and celiac disease. All families are screened through FEI and require an appointment with JFS to receive services. Eligibility requirements include income guidelines (at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level), a doctor’s diagnosis, and a physician’s signed diet-order.
“Families experiencing these chronic allergies and celiac disease learn firsthand how expensive required foods are to purchase,” Brown said. “Providing pantry options for them to shop for these foods takes away barriers that keep them from living healthy lives. 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.”
“JFS is pleased to expand our services through this partnership with FEI to meet the needs of families with food allergies,” said Don Goldman, JFS Executive Director, and CEO.” Our pantry is about serving everyone with dignity, respect, and care, so this collaboration is one more step along that path. Both organizations are bringing what they do best to this partnership.”
FEI clients referred to JFS will receive the full JFS shopping experience in addition to receiving designated allergy-friendly foods. The JFS Food Pantry is a client choice pantry that offers a wide range of staples such as grains, dairy, protein, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Personal care and household items round out the grocery bags since most of those items are not covered by governmental assistance (food stamps). The JFS pantry also offers pet food for its clients with dogs or cats.
Since expanding the JFS Brookside Pantry in 2017, JFS has grown to serve over 420 families each month, with continued growth projected into 2020 and beyond. The JFS pantry also offers pet food for its clients with dogs or cats.
“As we gain clients every month, we are increasingly seeing families with dietary restrictions. This partnership opens the door for new referrals to FEI to ultimately better serve JFS clients,” said Jo Hickey, JFS Food Pantry Director.
JFS will offer special shopping appointments one day a month at the JFS Brookside Pantry, for families that meet the criteria and are referred by FEI. Inquiries about these services can be made at the Food Equality Initiative’s website https://foodequalityinitiative.org.