Pittsburgh: Tis the Season for Gluten-free Donations!
By Chelsie Kozera, Staff Correspondent
PITTSBURGH-As the holiday season approaches and our hearts grow warm with a generous spirit, we
often find ourselves in a shopping mall on a quest for the perfect presents to give our loved ones. It’s
easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of gift buying around the Christmas season. It would do us all
good to reflect on the words of our favorite children’s author, “Maybe Christmas… doesn’t come from a store… Maybe Christmas… means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss encourages us to spread the joy that overcomes us all this season with our actions, rather than our wallets. A great way to lend a helping hand to your community this year is by donating to your local food pantry so that less fortunate families can fill their stomachs with a delicious meal on a cold winter’s night.
If you are a person in need and concerned about the steel city not accommodating your dietary needs, don’t fret. Iris Valanti, Director of Communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, assures that six pantries stock gluten-free products: West Hills Food Pantry, South Hills Interfaith Food Pantry, East End Cooperative Ministries, Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, Brentwood Presbyterian Church, and the North Hills Community Outreach Food Pantry. On distribution days families are assigned to a local pantry in close proximity to where they live. But if you suffer from celiac disease and can’t afford the high costs of gluten-free ingredients, you will have access to any of the pantries that distribute gluten-free products.
Although Valanti expressed that gluten-free products are not currently a common request, awareness
and the need for gluten-free products is growing. Gluten-Free Awareness Tour will be continuing their efforts
to promote the disease with an event at the Monroeville Convention Center on Saturday January 26th,
2012 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. where attendees can sample delicious gluten-free products. If you bring a
gluten-free item on the day of the event you’ll receive $1 off the price of admission; the food item will
then be donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. But if you can’t attend the event,
please contact your local food pantry to learn how to donate.
Essentially, the Pittsburgh area food pantries recognize the need for gluten-free items for families in
need during the holiday season and all year-round. Supporting celiacs can be done with an offering of
your time at a local food pantry, a donation of a gluten-free product, or just helping others understand