Neither rain, nor more rain, stopped us from having a TEALly good time at this year's Teal Pumpkin Trunk-or-Treat! Families from 3 states braved the rain to safely enjoy this fun, food-free holiday.
For a second year, FAAM hosted a "camp" for the children in our food allergy community, their siblings and parents. Food allergy is a family-managed diagnosis so we want families to have fun together, learn together and support each other.
FAAM's 2nd Annual Virtual 5K for Food Allergy Awareness in the Mid-South was a hit! Thank you to our participants from 6 states for believing in our mission of providing food allergy support, education, advocacy and fellowship in the Mid-South! Your support will help our volunteers continue to serve our local food allergy community in many ways. Your kindness has humbled our hearts and put some real wind in our sails to press on through 2019.
We all know April showers bring May flowers so we anticipate soggy egg hunts most years. We knew we couldn't depend on the weather this year especially, so we found a location with both an indoor and outdoor option. The littles enjoyed an egg hunt that included soft toys, while the older kiddos' eggs were filled with emoji toys, cars, slap bracelets and more. Everyone had a good time looking for the few golden, prize eggs!
We send another HUGE thank you to our event co-sponsor, Dr. Blake Billups, who provided the toy egg fillers. And an even bigger THANK YOU to our volunteers for the making the magic happen!
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.
by Kelley Barnett
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.
by Jennifer Lofton, Memphis 2016 FARE Walk for Food Allergy Chair
For me, and my then 10-month-old daughter, it all began with a bite of banana. A regular snack, like so many before – a few slices of banana placed on her high chair tray. My voracious eater gobbled them up happily. But these bits of her favorite fruit were not like all the others before. I had thoughtlessly (the last time I would ever use this word when describing feeding her) used the same knife I had been using to make myself the southern staple – a peanut butter and banana sandwich – for lunch.
Members were introduced to some great food allergy related items at our Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) event, thanks to the wonderful prizes donated from our very kind food allergy community. I was thrilled to share my favorite allergy finds with our members the night of our event and now, in the spirit of FAAW and Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month, with you...
Most food allergy families spread awareness wherever they go, no matter the day, week or setting; we are happy to share information with you. But it is nice to have a week designated to our cause, May 8-14, 2016. Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) was first declared in 1998 by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, which is now FARE. This year, both the governor and our county mayor signed proclamations recognizing FAAW in Tennessee and Shelby County. It feels good to have local support and recognition. This year's theme is "React with Respect" and I appreciate the emphasis on taking food allergies seriously and the role that we can all play in protecting those with allergies around us. For more information on FAAW 2016 and resources you can share to help educate those around you, check out our Resources page.
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the Mid-South. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.