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A mother's viral plea for kids with life-or-death food allergies is one we all need to hear

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.


Some say it's not fair to expect other people to cater to these kids's needs, but when it's a question of life or death, "fairness" takes a back seat. Living in a community should mean caring about the people in it. That's why we create ramps for people in wheelchairs, why we have family restrooms, why we make accommodations for people with developmental delays. Making accommodations for someone who has a life-threatening allergy should be a no brainer.

RELATED: This exciting 4-year trial could be a huge breakthrough in peanut allergies.

In a viral Facebook post, mom Melissa Griffin shared a photo of her third grade son who had been hospitalized after having an anaphylactic response to eating a green bean.

She wrote:

It's that time of year again, when parents begin planning classroom parties and events. It's highly likely you will receive a note from school that certain allergens must be avoided in your child's lunches and/or class party menus.

Your initial reaction might be one of irritation and eye-rolling. I totally get it; what a hassle! However, regardless of how you feel on the inside, please remember you have a CHOICE in how you respond out loud in front of your kids. Your words matter and this is an incredible opportunity to teach your kids some invaluable life lessons.

I've listed some practical alternative responses and the lessons they'll help teach:

1. Education - "Do you know what food allergies are? Did you know kids can get incredibly sick or even die with a single bite? Sometimes it can even happen from touching it."

2. Compassion and empathy - "How do you think Susie might feel in a cafeteria full of potentially dangerous foods? (Scared, anxious) How do you think you would feel at the class party if you were the only one who couldn't eat the yummy dessert everyone else was eating? (Sad, left out, embarrassed)

3. Inclusion - "Joey's Mom gave us a list of safe snacks for the party, which one should we pick? Isn't it great that he gets to participate? Having him at the party is way more important than the food, huh?"

4. Sacrificing your own comfort for a friend - "You get to have cookies or cupcakes any time you want. I'm proud of you for going without them this one time. How did it feel to see how happy Sally was?"

5. Healthier relationship with food - "The holidays are about friends and fun. The focus shouldn't be on the food anyway, right?"

6. Gratitude for their own health: "You know, we're really blessed that we can eat whatever we want and always feel safe at mealtime. Aren't you thankful for that?"

Don't miss these lessons by choosing to grumble about not getting to pack PB&J sandwiches or not being allowed to bring cupcakes.

EVERY child has the right to be safe and protected at school. It's scary releasing our food-allergic kiddos into the public school classroom.

On behalf of all parents of food-allergic children, thank you for choosing empathy and inclusion this school year and leading your kids to show the same! ALL of our kids are better off for it.

I've seen people complain about not being able to send the food their child likes to school with them. I've seen people say that peanut butter (or fill-in-the-blank allergen) is one of the only things their child will eat, therefore it's unfair to ask them to not eat it. I've seen people say that kids with allergies have to look out or themselves and that it's not their responsibility to keep someone else's child safe.

RELATED: It's not easy when you're a kid with diabetes or food allergies. Here's something that helps — a lot.

If you were standing near a roadway, and saw a child starting to run out in front of a car, would you not do everything in your power to stop them? Or would you not bother because it's not your responsibility? In my opinion, making sure the children around us don't accidentally die is just part of living in a civilized society.

In short, don't be a jerk about people's food allergies. Yes, it maybe inconvenient, but inconvenience is a small price to pay to help keep a child safe.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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