In October 2020, Severna Park High School sophomore Michele Seebold from Troop 140 founded Severna Park Teen Food Allergy Support and Advocacy (SP Teen FASA) as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Twice a month, the small group of Anne Arundel County teenagers meets over Zoom to share their experiences with food allergies and bond over games.
Thirty-two million Americans (one in 10 adults, or one in 13 children) have at least one food allergy. As of 2019, more than 35 million Americans are food insecure. Given the prevalence of both groups, they’re bound to overlap. The daily struggles of food allergies combined with difficulty obtaining food makes life difficult for food-allergic individuals in need.
For their 2021 advocacy project, Michele’s group is partnering with the nonprofit SPAN to address this issue. They are working to collect donations for food-allergic people in need and are counting on the people of Severna Park to help. Examples of the foods they are collecting include shelf-stable milk alternatives, gluten-free pasta, and safe treats. Items must be free of at least one of the top nine food allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy or sesame.
“Michele is providing a much-needed service for the community,” said Ellen Kinsella, SPAN’s director of development. “There are many times SPAN has food clients who are vegetarian or vegan, or have Celiac's, diabetes, or other conditions requiring specialty diets. It's nice to know we have a shelf dedicated to this type of food.”
Donations are accepted three ways.