17 May 2009

On the shopping list

My church, like most churches, has baskets in the narthex* to collect nonperishable food for the hungry. As the food went to Silver Spring HELP, the baskets were informally known as the HELP baskets.

I've been contributing off and on all my life, usually whatever random staple I happened to have on hand as I was leaving for church. And after Mom moved from her apartment to Old People's Prison**, I put all the gluten-containing food from her kitchen in the HELP baskets, which was rather a bonus because Mom had pretty wide tastes in food and she didn't buy store brands too often.

I haven't worried too much about what I was putting in the baskets, but ITE*** food and money are walking a little closer together in everyone's minds. I've mentioned before that gluten-free food often costs more and is harder to find than "regular" food. I'm not talking about gluten-free cupcakes, but a more standard cupboard item: breakfast cereal. I gave up eating breakfast cereal when I couldn't find any that either wasn't sweetened with barley malt (which has gluten) or didn't cost a depressing amount of money.

Chex Cereals (owned by General Mills) has recently taken the barley malt out of Rice Chex and replaced it with molasses. They also work to prevent cross-contamination, making these cereals appropriate for Celiacs. This is good news, but cereal is still - comparatively - an expensive food item and food pantries often mention that it is something that they run out of quickly.

So if you read this blog and if you contribute to your local food pantry, I am asking a favor. Please consider buying a few gluten-free items when considering what to donate.

Some suggestions:

Nature's Path - they're Canadian! They must be nice.

EnviroKidz cereals**** - Thanks to my friend Doug I have a sentimental attachment to the Leapin' Lemurs cereal;

Rice Chex;

Amy's Organic soups - Several soups are gluten-free (and clearly marked so) and a few are even corn-free. (And if there is an allergy more annoying than gluten, it's corn because HFCS is in every damn thing.)

** Come on, really, if the door to your room gets shut and someone else has to open it, or else you can't leave your room, isn't that rather prison-like? If you can't go into the courtyard unless someone holds the door open; if your
vitamins are confiscated by the staff; if you get out of bed and go to bed on their schedule - doesn't that justify the phrasing?
***ITE = In This Economy. Thanks, David for the initialism.
****Nature's Path owns Envirokidz


David Gorsline said...

Nick Paumgarten should get the credit for ITE.

Maureen said...

Thanks for the reminder / suggestions. Can you recommend any gluten-free pastas? (Pasta's what our parish soup kitchen seems to ask for most often.)

waitress said...

pretty cool, I will check back.