I heard a great story the other day: A school wanted to host a peanut butter and jelly drive. The goal was to inspired fellow students to bring jars of these tasty items to be donated to local families in need. The student body president realized there were several kids with peanut allergies at his school. He wanted to keep all students safe while conducting this collection. The solution light bulb went off and he created a brilliant plan.
Food Allergy Safe: The Brilliant Peanut Butter and Jelly Donation Plan
All sun butter and non-peanut butter spreads and jelly’s were collected on a table in the main hallway. Anyone wanting to donate peanut butter could either provide a cash donation or meet the student body president in the morning in the parking lot, where the allergen would be passed along. Problem solved. Peanut allergic students didn’t have to worry about peanut residue being spread around a very public and busy area and a variety of high protein shelf stable spreads could be donated.
After working in food retail as a teen, I quickly learned that things break in transit and food residue is not uncommon on jars, boxes, etc. I was impressed how this teen, without adult prompting, thought of fellow allergic students, and understood that some jars might contain a smear or two. The school is small and I have since learned that this student body president considers student allergies when planning events, food sales, etc. The moral of this story is that food allergies did not inhibit good community work. Even though many allergic students can be in close proximity of their allergen, I know of some who simply can not. Food allergies are not one size fits and all, I have come to learn. This solution inspired me to see how one student thought out of the box to be inclusive while reaching their goals. An extra bonus: peanut allergic families will be receiving donations of sun butter and other non-peanut spreads.