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For children of low-income families, finding access to nutritious food is hard enough. But what about when those children have food allergies? A recent study found that 21 percent of children who experience low food security have been diagnosed with at least one food allergy. For them, access to a balanced diet becomes nearly impossible.

Pacific Foods and Oregon Food Bank are partnering to fill this largely unmet need with the Pacific Foods’ Allergy-Friendly Food Drive for Kids. Throughout the month of September, Pacific welcomes donations of gluten-free and dairy-free foods as part of Hunger Action Month™, a nationwide movement to fight hunger.

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Nutritious, non-perishable foods can be donated at any of The Portland Clinic’s eight locations or the Concordia University campus. What’s more, for each individual donation Pacific will provide a match of 32 ounces of non-dairy beverage. No time to swing by the grocery store? Monetary donations can be made online at Oregon Food Bank. A $10 donation will provide 30 nourishing meals.

“We talked to our friends at the Oregon Food Bank, and found that there’s a great need for allergy-friendly foods,” said Kari Davis, a representative of Pacific Foods. “We aim to shine a light on this issue impacting our neighbors' children, and encourage people to think outside of the box when donating to food drives.”

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Pacific has been a longtime partner of Oregon Food Bank, donating more than 1.3 million pounds of food in 2016 alone. Many these donations have included Pacific Foods’ non-dairy beverages, made from wholesome  ingredients like coconut, almond, oats, soy and more. All of these options make great shelf-stable donations for the allergy-friendly food drive.

With a mantra of “Nourish Every Body,” Pacific Foods has been engaged in food access work since the company’s inception, believing that everyone deserves access to healthy, nourishing foods.

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"Unhealthy foods are easy to access,”  said Gretchen Miller, a representative of Oregon Food Bank. “They’re inexpensive and available in most stores across the country. What is often more difficult to get are nutrient dense foods. Pacific Foods gets that, regardless of income, everyone should have access to healthy pantry staples. They’ve been an excellent partner in addressing food insecurity through donating these types of allergen-free products. Simply hearing there’s a need for items like dairy alternatives was enough for them do something about it. We are hopeful others will too."

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