This year it wasn't a fundraiser, rather a 'Baking Extravaganza'. In our efforts to promote promote allergy awareness, all of the kids working the tables had food allergies or were siblings of those with food allergies.
This was an opportunity for the 'Kids With Food Allergies', those who normally don't participate in other yearly bake sales or food events, an opportunity to share that foods with alternative ingredients taste just as good, if NOT better, than the baked goods their friends are accustomed to enjoying.
ALL of the baked goods were completely NUT/TREE NUT FREE! We even had items DAIRY, EGG, GLUTEN and SOY-FREE. Chocolate items were a huge hit! The chocolate covered rice krispie treats, brownies and the chocolate/sprinkled pretzels went the fastest! We also had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, oatmeal and oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies and gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffins!
I have to be honest and share that there was one glitch. The kids working the tables knew they weren't supposed to eat anything without asking, as not all items were just nut/tree-nut free. Well, the temptation was a bit much for one child who normally wouldn't eat anything without asking first. A trip to the school nurse and a little benadryl later, all was good.
I felt terrible that this happened on my watch. However, this child was NOT anaphylactic to the dairy-based chocolate chip. What could have been a terrible situation reminded me of why I'm so passionate about allergy awareness and education.
My greatest concern as a parent is not 'IF' something happens, but 'WHEN' it does, will everyone know what to do? And they did. The child alerted someone immediately and the adults responded according to policies and procedures in place. My feelings as to how the school personnel may handle one of my children having an allergic reaction is with confidence.
We and our children do the best we can with their challenges. Our kids are human. They want to fit in. They want to participate like everyone else. No matter how 'on top of their game' you think they are with managing their food allergies, it's possible to get caught up in the excitement sometimes.
As adults, it is important to remember the influence of peer pressure. Educating our kids is one step we can do for them. We can't put the pressure solely on our children with food allergies to take care of themselves, especially those in elementary grades. We can expand their safety net by ensuring their peers and teachers are also well educated in handling food allergies.