Awareness? A Step Backwards

Each year at our elementary school we have a fall festival as I am sure of many of you do as well. This year the concept has changed for the first time in many years from a carnival type atmosphere, with booths an inflatable jumpies and slides to a “screen on the green” event. Whereas before there was little food except popcorn and pre-ordered Chick-fil-a, now it’s more of a dinner event. It’s clear the committee head who chose the menu does not have children with allergies.

Now nowhere does it say attendees have to order this food, people are welcome to bring their own picnic. The fact that this takes place during the dinner hour now does make eating at the festival more of a necessity than it was before. Anyway, I think the concept is great, a local family friendly band and then a popular movie aired on a big screen once the sun goes down. A nice way for family and friends to be together at a school event.

So let me tell you a little about the menu to choose from if one opts to go with the catered food. There are two sandwich options (both with meat but that doesn’t matter for these purposes), two salad options, one with pecans and 3 kids choices, ham and cheese, turkey and cheese and you guessed it, PB & J. Not a lot of options here for those with food restrictions, huh.

When the menu was announced at the last PTA meeting, I saw a friend’s face who has a daughter with a peanut allergy. It wasn’t so much fear, it was a look of resignation, sort of saying, “They’ll never get it will they.” Now I am sure that some families will opt to bring peanut butter in some form for someone in their family. It’s an outside event, on blankets and personal chairs. It will probably be fine. I just think that with the menu there should have been a few more choices, nut free, dairy free, meat free.

I think the committee is trying so hard to move towards healthy options and away from fast food (this is an organic restaurant) that they forgot about some other health concerns. Maybe they just need some education, too. Who knows?

Oh, I might as well mention the little girl who was rolling her peanut butter from her sandwich into little balls while she ate lunch in the cafeteria, of course, hands all over chairs and tables, too.

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