In the United States, 32 million people suffer from a potentially life-threatening food allergy. Food allergies have become a public health concern, as one out of every 13 children live with one – and that number is only expected to grow. To help advocate for the issue, the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization holds its annual “Living Teal Food Allergy Awareness Week.” This year, it took place May 8-14, and Heritage’s allergy awareness club sprung to action, eager to participate.
Food Allergy/Intolerance Awareness, otherwise known as FALIA, is a club that raises awareness for those with allergies or food intolerances.
FALIA planned out a whole week’s worth of activities – all inspired by FARE’s official #TealTakeover – at school to call to action and educate peers on allergy awareness.
To kick off the week, the club helds a bake sale to raise not only club funds, but also money for donations to FARE. FALIA created mock-TEALs, a blue (completely non-alcoholic) drink in a cup topped with a sugary coat and a paper umbrella.
FALIA also hosted a “game day.” Members had the opportunity to complete an allergy word search for a grand prize – a hand-made, bright teal bracelet. Freshman Arianna Borhan was one of the lucky winners.
“Out of all of the events FALIA planned, I enjoyed doing the word search the most because it was fun and exposed me to new allergy vocabulary words and information. I never knew that shellfish was an allergen, but thanks to the word search, I now know that it is actually a common allergy,” Borhan said.
Wednesday, May 11th was Teal Takeover Day, and members were encouraged to wear teal accessories such as bracelets, socks, belts or hair scrunchies. Those who earned a teal bracelet by completing the word search were motivated to wear it on this day.
“I wore my teal bracelet from the word search activity on Wednesday to support those – including myself – who have food allergies. I enjoyed getting to express the importance of raising awareness for food allergies through what I wore,” freshman Isabella Diallo Molero said.
FALIA plans to have a cookie dough making activity in the near future to complete their club events for May’s allergy awareness and the school year overall. This teaches members about the importance of reading ingredient labels on food and staying alert for cross contamination. For anyone interested in diving deeper into food allergy awareness, check out FARE’s volunteer site or even join their teen advisory group.
“My co-president and I feel that it is vital to raise awareness for food allergies because allergies are so common in today’s world – especially in children, who will eat anything in sight,” FALIA co-president, freshman Drew Bank, said. “Until there is a cure for allergies, we must spread consciousness and hopefully make living with an allergy as easy as possible for those who suffer from one.”