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Is Your Church’s Fundraising Program Safe?
By: Chris Laverty

Many churches are going completely peanut-free. Due to the high increase in life-threatening peanut allergies, your church could be next. How do you accommodate this in your church? This article will highlight some peanut facts, along with how a church program can adapt to this trend.

There seems to be a wide misconception among adults regarding peanut allergies. When a child with a peanut allergy comes in contact with a peanut product, they can have mild symptoms such as skin irritations (hives), swollen lips, swollen tongue and gastrointestinal distress. This seems to be what people, in general, think.

Children with peanut allergies can also experience far more dangerous symptoms like anaphylactic reactions, which include, but are not limited to, difficulty breathing, vomiting, cramping, swelling of the mouth and throat area, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms can develop rapidly and can be life-threatening.

Here are the facts:

• Peanut allergies are the most common food allergy.
• Allergies to peanuts affect 1.5% of children (more than 3 million Americans).
• The percentage of children with peanut allergies has more than tripled in just over a decade. These results show that there is an alarming increase in peanut allergies.
• Reactions can be life-threatening, and the only treatment is to avoid all traces of peanuts and other peanut-containing products.
• Church administrators, preschool teachers, youth pastors, and parents, those involved in children's activities, need to be very sensitive to these statistics.
• As little as 1/1000 of a single nut can cause an allergic reaction.
• Many churches have a peanut-free zone or are going completely peanut-free.

Churches are being proactive when it comes to peanut allergies. Not only are these churches going peanut-free within the church, they are going so far as to require peanut-free fundraising outside of the church. Some fundraising companies are accommodating this trend.

So, what can you do? Educate yourselves, even if this doesn't directly affect you. We can't ignore the statistics. Read labels. Teach your children to wash hands, don't share their food and to look out for their friends. Peanut-free equals worry-free!

This article is courtesy of Jackson Candy Fundraising, www.candyfundraising.com, a fundraising distributor that offers peanut-free options, and Van Wyk Confections, supplier of the peanut-free Original One Dollar Bar, www.onedollarbar.com.

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