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Canadian Celiac Association Launches Holiday Survival Campaign

Resources Address Gluten-Free Food Insecurity, Dietary Guidance and Mental Health Challenges During Pandemic

 

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Dec. 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Canadian Celiac Association today announced a campaign designed to help Canadians with celiac disease cope with perennial holiday season challenges, made worse by the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic currently impacting the country.

The program’s centrepiece, Save Me For Gluten Free [https://www.celiac.ca/food-industry-professionals/food-banks/] calls on the Canadian celiac community, and all Canadians, to donate gluten-free food to food banks. The initiative includes a list of celiac-safe gluten- free certified products people can purchase, links to special decals to print off and attach to their bags of donated food, and storage and distribution instructions for participating food banks across the country.

Food insecurity is a major issue for many Canadian celiacs at the best of times, says CCA National Executive Director Melissa Secord, but the combination of the holidays and the pandemic has exacerbated this problem beyond everyone’s worst fears.

“There is such a great demand on food banks from all Canadians affected by the pandemic that, unfortunately, the specific dietary needs of people battling celiac disease increasingly falls through the cracks,” she added. “It’s our sincere hope that Save Me For Gluten Free can help to address this dire need.”

Secord is encouraging Canadians not only to donate gluten-free products to food banks but to share their contribution across social media, using #SaveMe4GlutenFree, along with a photo of their care package to help raise awareness of the issue. For more information, visit [https://www.celiac.ca/food-industry-professionals/food-banks/]

In addition to food insecurity, mental health is also a major concern for Canadians with celiac disease, who are two times more likely to experience depression and six times more likely to experience anxiety than the general public.1 To help address an increased need, the CCA is extending its client and peer support desk monitoring to seven days a week until the end of December to help people who are newly diagnosed or just need help with managing their disease and added stress. It has also posted additional mental health resources on its website [https://www.celiac.ca/living-gluten-free/mental-health-and-wellness/]

For all Canadians living with celiac disease, the CCA has developed a 2020 Holiday Survival Guide [https://www.celiac.ca/wp- content/uploads/2020/12/2020-Holiday-Guide-Final-web-1.pdf] with tips on how to enjoy a safe, socially-distanced and gluten-free holiday season. Sponsored by Nairn’s [https://www.nairns-oatcakes.com/wellbeing/gluten-free], the guide features practical information for avoiding cross-contamination during food prep, the ultimate gift list for the celiac in your life, and tips for festive alcohol drinks that are delicious and gluten free. For more information on the Guide and the CCA’s other holiday resources visit www.celiac.ca

About the Canadian Celiac Association

The Canadian Celiac Association / L’Association canadienne de la maladie coeliaque, a volunteer-based federally registered charitable organization, empowers people who are adversely affected by gluten. It was founded in 1972 and continues to be a source of science- based information, fostering research and encouraging mutual support among the gluten-free community. The association serves people with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten disorders through its affiliated chapters across Canada.

PR Contact: Angela Rotundo
P: 416-366-2264 ext.14
E: arotundo@bangalbino.ca

1References: Clappison E, Hadjivassiliou M, & Zis P. (2020). Psychiatric manifestations of coeliac disease, a systematic review and meta- analysis. Nutrients, 12, 142. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010142

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