Gluten-Free Food Bank Receives Grant From Foundation for MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund –

FRAMINGHAM – The Gluten-Free Food Bank, part of the National Celiac Association, announced it has been awarded a grant by the Foundation for MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund.

The grant will be used to support our mission to distribute gluten-free food staples to our partner food pantries for use by people with a medical need to eat gluten-free. This includes people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The Gluten-Free Food Bank has several partner food pantries in the Boston MetroWest communities that are supported by the Foundation for MetroWest. These include Acton, Ashland, Hopkinton, Medway, Natick and Wellesley. Many partner pantries serve people from surrounding towns.

For those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other gluten-related disorders, eating gluten-free is a medical necessity. Failure to comply with the diet can result in numerous medical side effects, from digestive disorders to cancer and infertility.

However, eating gluten-free is complex, expensive and often socially isolating.

It excludes a large amount of readily available and inexpensive food items such as bread, pasta and most breakfast cereals. Replacement products are expensive and rarely available at food assistance programs. Even the smallest loaf of gluten-free bread usually costs $5 or more.

Therefore, for those with financial constraints a diagnosis requiring a gluten-free diet can present a real challenge to food security.

The Gluten-Free Food Bank seeks to ameliorate this issue through a combination of awareness-raising and, within Eastern Massachusetts, provision of gluten-free staples to partner food pantries.

Established in 1995, the Foundation for MetroWest is the only community foundation serving the 33 cities and towns in the region. We promote philanthropy in the region, help donors maximize the impact of their local giving, serve as a resource for local nonprofits and enhance the quality of life for all our residents. Since inception, the Foundation has granted $16 million to charitable organizations and currently stewards more than $23 million in charitable assets for current needs and future impact.

Since 1993, the National Celiac Association (NCA) has been helping people live life everyday with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.  With active executive and advisory boards as well as passionate staff, NCA provides the resources necessary to not only manage a gluten-free diet but to thrive and grow as healthy individuals, no matter what age.  NCA is the only organization to offer a telephone helpline five days a week and runs unique programs such as the Gluten-Free Food Bank and ROCK- Raising Our Celiac Kids.  With various other contributions to federal labeling law and
advocacy, as well as research, NCA provides a national voice with a reach of almost 10,000 individuals and a growing network of over 50 support groups across 29 states.