New club serves as safe place, community for students with food allergies


The Food Allergy Club meets on Microsoft Teams and shares allergy-friendly recipes the last Friday of every month with sponsor Cynthia Depanicis.

The mere thought of eating a simple spoonful of peanut butter is enough to make those allergic flare up in hives. The unknown struggle of a student countlessly checking their meals and surroundings during lunch is a topic not many acknowledge, but could make all the difference for someone who feels isolated when suffering from a food allergy. A food related allergy can be the source of ignorant questions, bad jokes and frightening situations.

Those affected have formed a new club to spread awareness while teaching people about different food related allergies or intolerances, and the struggles that come along with them. Food Allergy Club is a safe place for students to come together for a common cause and relate their own experiences to others.

Food Allergy Club’s purpose is to spread awareness about various food-based dietary restrictions among members and throughout our community,” sophomore Madelyn Streisfeld said.

While citizens can find breast cancer and autism awareness campaigns all around them, food allergy awareness is rarely in the forefront. Instead, people with allergies receive comments of condolences like “I’m so sorry” or “That sounds awful.” The club was formed to create a dialogue on the topic as well as spread information to the school. The difficulties and misunderstandings about food allergies is the very reason why the club was started so people could create a dialogue surrounding it.

“We hope to create a safer environment in our school and beyond for people who do have specific dietary needs, whether it be as severe as an allergy or on the lesser side, like an intolerance,” Streisfeld said.

Although their focus is on awareness, it also serves to normalize food allergies. Many students can feel out of place as others aren’t able to relate to their own personal experiences, especially in a school setting. 

“It brings a certain group of people together that would be helpful to our society,” junior Hannah Egert said.

Junior Rachel Gottlieb started the club after struggling with the dietary requirements of living with Celiac Disease. She noticed there were barely any food allergy awareness programs at school.  The club engages in discussions, watches informative videos and shares allergy-friendly recipes.

“People with food allergies feel excluded at parties or social events because most of the time there isn’t food provided for them,” Gottlieb said.

People with food allergies, food intolerances, Celiac disease and much more have a tendency to feel divided. What may seem small to allergy free people is a daily concern to someone else. 

“I know a lot of people who have food allergies and I felt it was important to start making an impact and educating students, teachers and so many more people who face this issue daily,” Gottlieb said. 

The Food Allergy Club aims to educate and acknowledge food allergies. By organizing a secure, helpful and supportive environment they are able to connect with students through their shared situations.

“I hope my club can spread awareness and gather students who want to learn more and want to have a safe place to come and talk and participate in fun activities,” Gottlieb said.