by Kelley Barnett
Our fourth year of hosting a trunk-or-treat just for our Mid-South food allergy community was just as much fun as our first! This event grows each year and is a fun time for the lil' goblins and their parents. After a costume parade to show off their cool costumes, the children trick-or-treat for non-food items at trunks decorated by parents and grandparents. We then move inside to play festival games and earn more non-food prizes. What stood out the most to me was a group of parents just hanging out in the middle of the room, they were talking to each other and their children were going through the games again without them. This may not seem unusual for most people, but it is not typical for our food allergy families at a food-centered event. But this safe, food-free event allowed both parents and children time to relax and enjoy the holiday. That is exactly why we work hard to make sure we continue to serve our community in such an important way. We are already looking forward to next year!
I am very thankful to our volunteers who arrived early, worked the event, and stayed late to make sure our children felt included this Halloween; to Food Allergy Research & Education for helping sponsor this event; to Blake Billups, DDS for donating non-food items; and to the Bartlett Fire and Police Departments for participating. Thank you all for allowing our children to enjoy a fun, holiday tradition in a safe way! Click here for information on FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project.
Last weekend, FAAM hosted the first camp for kids diagnosed with food allergies in the Mid-South! FAAM parents and children ages 4-14 came to camp for Taekwondo, calm kits, parent chats and the splash pad. Camp was food-free which allowed attendees to relax and have fun; a luxury not fully experienced by individuals diagnosed with food allergies in traditional camp settings.
The Food Allergy Alliance of the Mid-South (FAAM) hosted its first virtual 5K fundraiser, June 10-16, 2018. FAAM is 100% volunteer-run. We have no employees; our board, officers, presenters and volunteers all work from their hearts. We are grateful those hearts are HUGE and have the capacity to love and support our food allergy community the way they do. The work we do requires funding, and while we receive grants, they do not cover everything we do. That's where our wonderful community, and people in communities across 7 states, chose to give us support that was overwhelmingly wonderful. I could go on and on about how grateful I am for each of you who sponsored, donated, participated, and supported us through this fundraiser, but no words can accurately convey that kind of gratitude.
THANK YOU for going the extra mile for food allergy awareness and allowing us to continue our work in the Mid-South! Please know you made a HUGE difference right here at home and we will continue to feel your love and support throughout the next year as we host food-free events, train educators, educate the public, and support and advocate for our local food allergy community.
We are grateful for the generosity of our sponsors. FAAM is a community organization and having the backing and support of our community is important in what we are able to accomplish for the Mid-South.
Our annual food-free egg hunt was hoppin' this year! Our little bunnies enjoyed decorating eggs (not real ones, but they look like it!), taking photos with Bunny, and watching The Magnificent Magic Show. For the grand finale, they hopped over to the egg hunt where they found plenty of eggs with non-food treasures inside. A food-free events means the children keep everything they find. This is a wonderful feeling for parents of children with food allergies - no digging to find what is deemed "safe" and no disappointed faces when the child cannot keep the candy they found because it contained their allergens. Parents also hunted for eggs to win some eggstra special prizes!
We send a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors and volunteers for making this special event happen. We could not have done it without you! The hearts of our volunteers, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Ms. Rainbow, Memphis Zoo and Kendra Scott-Saddle Creek are the reason our children had huge smiles and felt included. Our events are fun, there is no doubt about that! They also serve a greater purpose of supporting our local food allergy community, encouraging fellowship among members and including our food allergy FAAMilies in special traditions. THANK YOU for helping us make that happen!
by Kelley Barnett
FAAM hosted a Teal Pumpkin Trunk-or-Treat for our members and it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Most holidays involve food and enjoying traditions, like Trick-or-Treating, is very challenging for people diagnosed with food allergies. So we hosted our own food-free Halloween complete with games, face painting with Ms. Rainbow, a costume parade, and trunk-or-treating.
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the MidSouth. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
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