Mother, daughter open local pantry for people with food allergies

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. (WPVI) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics wants healthcare providers to screen kids for poverty by simply asking parents if they have trouble making ends meet.

It's estimated one in five children in the United States live in poverty, and that puts them at a greater risk for health problems.

Pediatricians are asked to screen kids and help families in need get better assistance such as access to healthy foods and other services.

A local mother-and-daughter team is doing their part to help address the problem by starting a different kind of food bank.

Fourteen-year-old Rachel Gannon and her mother, Heather Gannon, are stocking the shelves at The Rachel Way Gluten & Dairy Free Food Pantry in Plymouth Meeting. It's a food bank for people with food allergies.

"Everything in the pantry is gluten-free. We have a dairy-free section and a nut-free section," said Heather Gannon.

She says they learned first-hand about food allergies three years ago when Rachel was losing weight and had severe stomach pain for months.

They now know she's allergic to gluten and dairy so they've changed her diet.

Heather Gannon says some of the foods can be expensive and typically aren't offered at food banks.

"As a family we feel a pinch every month, and I couldn't imagine what others do if they can't afford food to begin with," said Heather Gannon.

So to help others, they got to work on the nonprofit, supplying different kinds of healthy, allergy-friendly foods including gluten-free bread, sunflower butter and some special treats.

"I feel good that I can help people so they don't have to put themselves in pain," said Rachel.
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