HomeRaising awareness with snack bags: Meet #FoodAllergyChampion Ruth

Raising awareness with snack bags: Meet #FoodAllergyChampion Ruth

May 25, 2022

Ruth and her family
Ruth and her family

Ruth is a creative food allergy mom from Waterdown, ON who is passionate about raising food allergy awareness. This year for Food Allergy Awareness Month (FAAM), Ruth designed snack bags, and is selling them to raise awareness and funds for our organization. 

Each snack bag is custom-made and lists individual food allergen(s), and with each snack bag sold, a portion of the sales will be donated directly to our organization. In addition, Ruth set up a Food Allergy Canada fundraising page for those who don’t want a snack bag but still want to support her mission.

Read our interview with Ruth below to learn more about her snack bag fundraiser and what inspired her to start the initiative and continue giving back to Food Allergy Canada.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How are you impacted by food allergy?

Hunter smiling

I don’t have food allergies myself, but my family does. My husband is allergic to mango, and my son Hunter is allergic to barley, wheat, egg, peanut, and avocado. Hunter’s first anaphylactic reaction was at 7 months.

Tell us about the snack bag initiative you started. What prompted you to host another fundraiser for Food Allergy Canada and what is your goal?

Inspired by my son Hunter, who has had multiple anaphylactic reactions since he was 7 months old, I wanted to make a difference and help raise awareness on how common food allergy is while encouraging others to feel comfortable and confident speaking about theirs. 

Last year, I created custom shirts that display a person’s food allergen(s), and donated a portion of my sales to Food Allergy Canada.

For 2022, especially with Hunter starting school and being with other kids who may not be familiar with food allergy, I wanted to create something that would raise awareness but also concentrate on safety. So, I asked myself “What can I do to make sure that even when my husband and I are not around, people are aware of his food allergies, especially when it’s lunch time at school?” That’s when I came across Colibri Canada and their reusable bags. I had the idea to customize the bags with what not to put in your snack bag (i.e., a person’s allergens) along with the Food Allergy Canada logo and option to personalize the bag as well. 

Ruth's snack bags

For anyone that doesn’t have food allergy but would like to purchase these snack bags, I have a bag option that has the Food Allergy Canada logo and can be personalized with a name. To get your own personalised snack bag, visit my website at ruthcreates.ca or email me at donebyruth@gmail.com to order yours today. Delivery available.

My goal is to work alongside Food Allergy Canada to help support, educate and advocate for people living with food allergy. Thank you in advance for your support in making a difference and helping Canadians with food allergy live easier and more confidently.

How has the response been so far?

For 2022, I have set a goal to raise $1000 and so far, I raised $350 in donations and sales. People have been sharing my posts and stories on social media. I’ve had fellow allergy mamas returning and ordering for their kids, and new ones as well! People have been really supportive and I’m grateful for that.

How does food allergy affect your/your family’s life? What is it like managing food allergy? Where do you go for support?

Ruth and family

We make sure everyone is aware of his allergens and have taken precautions like washing hands before they interact with Hunter.

One strategy we use in our kitchen is using two separate sinks – one for Hunter’s food, and one for the rest. Outside our home, we carry auto-injectors wherever we go in case of a reaction.

Before I found Food Allergy Canada, my husband and I would go to our doctor for support. We also searched a lot of things online and sometimes I would ask my sister who is a nurse and my mom who is a retired nurse. But even with that, I felt like it still wasn’t enough since the Internet can give you all sorts of random facts and my family’s knowledge on food allergies was minimal. 

Now, Food Allergy Canada’s website is our go-to resource for credible information and support. There is a lot of helpful content on the site, and I’m always learning new things to help manage Hunter’s food allergies.

Are there other ways you are supporting food allergy awareness this month?
At the beginning of May, I shared my food allergy story on Instagram. To further spread education, I’ve also been including food allergy informational pamphlets from Food Allergy Canada with each bag purchase this month. I also took my kids to check out the FAAM lighting in Burlington!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

We welcomed a new member to our family, Leonardo Elliott, in July. He turned 6 months in January and in preparation for when he eats solids my husband and I really leaned on Food Allergy Canada for guidance on how to introduce foods. We went to the website and read your information about how to introduce foods, especially with the most common food allergens, and listened to your recorded webinar on the early introduction of allergens and food allergy prevention. I’m happy to report that so far it’s been a success – Leo hasn’t shown signs of being allergic to any food and he is a great eater!

Thank you Ruth for helping to spread awareness and for being a #FoodAllergyChampion! You can support food allergy awareness and Ruth’s initiatives below. A portion of each snack bag sale will be going directly to Food Allergy Canada. 

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