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Snacks in church

24 replies [Last post]
By Nicole on Mon, 02-22-99, 02:15

Hi ~

Yet one more place for me to be on the lookout. Families have been bringing in cheerios, pretzels and crackers in for their toddlers during mass. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we encounter something that contains nuts.

I find that if I take my son to the earlier mass, the floor and seating areas aren't sprinkled with leftover crumbs like in the 12:30 mass. Yikes...always something to watch for.


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By on Mon, 02-22-99, 02:34

Nicole, we are on the same wave level! We attend Mass at night (7:00 p.m.) since most of the smaller children are home getting ready for bed. There are not many children at the nighttime Mass and it helps tremendously with snacks not being brought in. Our son will start CCD in the fall and my daughter's class is forever having snacks and treats brought in by the teacher, including peanut products. When my son was a toddler, we found we couldn't sit in the "cry room" due to so many cross-contaminations in there. Good luck!

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By Nicole on Mon, 02-22-99, 15:38

Hi Connie ~

My son is scheduled to start Religious Formation (CCD) in the fall as well. I don't know if I can add one more thing to the year - Kindergarten will be stressful enough.

I might just have to plan on sitting in the room and monitoring things for awhile as well as educate the staff. Maybe by the time he's in 2nd or 3rd grade, the CCD staff will be aware. Leaving him for an hour shouldn't be a problem but it only takes a minute to expose him to peanuts. Since he has an airborne allergy, I literally have to be one step ahead of him and am going to have to wash down all surfaces before he can sit down. The CCD rooms are in a catholic school and will be obviously different from his elementary school. It'll be a whole other can of worms.

One thing at a time, right?! [img]http://client.banreets.gsp.com/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]


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By Patti on Mon, 02-22-99, 16:23

I am my first graders CCD aide and I know they take turns bringing in a snack and juice. So I have thought about this as well. I think I am going to handle this as I will with school. She isn't there yet but I have given it some thought. I will be the baby wipe queen. Start buying stock now. I will institute hopefully a no sharing policy. But she will not be allowed to eat anything unless it was cleared by me. And I don't care if it is a carrot. No exceptions not ever. Also I will provide both schools CCD or otherwise with wipes. All children will wipe their hands before and after eating. Not a bad idea anyway. As for where they sit it reminds me of when we flew for Florida. I got on the plane first and wiped down everything. Ok but then my husband jokingly said when he got through with the paperwork for the rental car (I all ready had the car) why don't you wipe down this too!! I said I all ready did. But I am starting to think it is unrealistic to wipe down everything so I will continue to teach her that her hands do not go in her mouth and that she always washes before eating. For you airborne people I don't know how you do it. I will pray extra for you every night.

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By tracy on Mon, 02-22-99, 16:36


Your comment about buying stock in the baby wipe industry reminded me of this GREAT recipe I have for making CHEAP diaper wipes.

I've done this and they really work well... it's not trivial to cut the paper towel roll in half, but if you can master that, you can save a lot of money, especially if you have to wipe down a lot of things.

These can be used as wipes in general, not just for diaper-changing.

Your's in tightwadness,


Diaper/Baby Wipes

In a bowl, mix 2 cups water, 2 Tablespoons baby bath soap. Pour over 1/2 roll large Bounty paper towel. (A roll of large Bounty cut in half using a serrated knife or electric knife.) A 10-cup Rubbermaid cylindrical storage container fits a 1/2 roll of Bounty very nicely. Wait 1 minute, then pull out the center cardboard and the starter paper-towel sheet will come out from the center of the roll.

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By dhumphries on Tue, 02-23-99, 02:50

I am so glad that you all are mentioning church. I feel so guilty, but I have been avoiding going to church because I am afraid to leave my son in the nursery for fear that he will encounter some peanut product. I hope God will forgive me, but I don't think I'll be able to handle this until my son gets a little older, and knows what he can and can't have.

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By Nicole on Tue, 02-23-99, 03:16

Hi ~

I'm glad you posted that recipe for wipes. It reminds me that I need to make some here because the regular stuff is much to harsh on this tender eczema skin. I can basically just add whatever soap agrees with him (Cetaphil or whatever) and put some moisturizer in it too. Thanks for the great idea!

Also, about the nursery at church. I understand what you mean when you say you don't want to leave your child. I totally agree. Our church is basically a turnover of parent volunteers (usually different every week) and older students who volunteer. It's just too risky. I keep him with me at all times during church.


P.S. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I think God understands.

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By Lschubert on Tue, 02-23-99, 03:51

I know this is hard to believe but the more people you talk to at church the more people who are looking out for your child. We are very involved with our church. Each teacher knows how to use the epi-pen (we have never had to use it). If you talk to the childrens director they will help. Ours has kept me posted and even talks to other teachers for me(ahead of time) to head off any craft the may have bp involved. We are even involved in a AWANA mid-week program and they have snack every week. The lady incharge of snsck now reads the labels and buys only safe snacks. Once she accidently got a snack that said may contain peanuts traces. She told me and had a special snack for my son. All the teachers where notified and it all turned out well. It is a lillte harded with little one who don't talk. But if you put a large button or tape on the front and back the nursery workers will see it. Oh and don't forget the emergency kit. HAND IT TO THE PERSON IS CHARGE EACH TIME.
Remember why we go to church. It's to worship God and to learn how to be more like our Lord.FAITH is hard to live by but God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us and our kids. He made us each special and has a plan for each of us. We just have to trust Him. Keep praying for His strength and we will make it through. And don't forget He won't give us more than we can handle.
God bless and trust Him, Lori


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By on Tue, 02-23-99, 20:59

Hi Nicole,

Our CCD rooms are also in the Catholic school. They also moved CCD from Sunday mornings to Wednesday evenings, which means there are peanut particles, I'm sure, still lingering in the classroom somewhere. This is never ending, is it?

DHumphries...don't feel guilty! Nicole is right; God does understand.

Stay safe!

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By Nicole on Tue, 02-23-99, 21:42

[b] Trust In Him [/b] for sure! Thanks for all the encouragement. Nicole

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By Deb on Wed, 02-24-99, 04:00

I'm glad to know I'm not alone in worrying about CCD and other religious education with regard to peanut allergies. My daughter will start in September when she starts first grade--I've been toying with the idea of asking the parish priest if I can "homeschool" her. At her elementary school, there is a nurse on duty at all times and numerous people are trained with the Epi-Pen. Elaborate food handling rules are followed in the classrooms. None of this safety system will be in place for CCD--it relies on parent volunteers who change from year to year. I guess I could stay with her for the entire class but I don't want to stigmatize her. I don't think I would make a good teacher for a group--I'm more of a one-on-one person. Best wishes to everyone struggling with these same issues!

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By Mary on Wed, 02-24-99, 16:13

As for religious education classes, I would suggest you work with educating the pastor and director of the education programs. Of all the places that should look out for someone with a special need, a church should be at the top of the list.
If you are Catholic and find resistance, go to the Diocese and ask for their assistance. In fact, we met a lot of resistance with our child's church preschool. They did not want to take away a "child's right" to select a peanut butter snack for their allocated snack day. After much effort, and the backing of the Diocese, a letter went out to all parents from us with a overview of the dangers of a peanut allergy. We also asked them not to send in snacks with peanut butter or peanuts. We send in our son's own snack but we were concerned about potential airborne and residue issues. We have a supply of safe snacks for the entire class if someone brings in an obvious peanut snack. The teachers serve the class from our safe supply.
In summary, I would work with the church first before I would throw in the towel.
Remember food is not the goal or mission of the educational program. An accommodation for safety is an important learning experience for caring and helping others.

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By on Wed, 02-24-99, 19:18

Mary, thank you for the great advice. Like the others, I have concerns with my son starting CCD and Kindergarten @ the same time. I plan on speaking with the Religious Education Director before enrolling Cam in CCD. If I don't get anywhere with her, then I will speak to the Parish Priest, and if all else fails, then I will go to the Diocese. Hopefully, it won't have to go any further than the Director. My feelings are in line with Deb, also. The thought crossed my mind of teaching his class but I would not be good at it. It would be more beneficial for him if I were NOT in the room with him; for reasons I'm sure we can all relate to. My children act much better when I'm not around! (Imagine that)!! HA HA.

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited February 24, 1999).]

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By Chris on Thu, 02-25-99, 20:15


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By Mary Catherine on Sat, 02-27-99, 23:10

Well, Danny started 1st grade CCD this year, Tuesday evenings, in the 'carpeted' Catholic school. We do not have snacks in his classroom, since two children are anaphylactic to peanuts (out of 15). And you will find me there each week as an aide in his classroom. When he gets older, I will still be in the building as an aide somewhere else or as a hall monitor. I just cannot trust his care to someone else. I'm too frightened to take that step. It takes so much time to fully educate someone to care for our children. I could never be shopping or at home during that time, I'd be worrying myself sick. So I may as well stay and help. Perhaps when he is older, but I can't even begin to project what I would define as "older" at this time.

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By Mary Catherine on Sat, 02-27-99, 23:18

Oh, and another thing. Don't forget that most weddings occur on Saturdays in church, or even Friday evenings. Our church is as large as a barn, and didn't we choose to sit in the pew that had shelled peanuts lying on the bench. Probably left over from a wedding?!? God thing his older sister noticed them, for he was a toddler at that time. Kids put everyting in their mouths when they are little. If we could only choose lottery numbers and have that kind of luck!***** Now, if you want to hear another concern. I worry about next year when he is old enough to receive the Host. He will never drink from the cup. That's a given. But what about the priest's hands touching the tongue of another person who ate PB for breakfast that morning and then picks up a Host and hands it to my son? Cross contamination! Any thoughts on this, or am I a compulsive worrier?

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By Mary Catherine on Sat, 02-27-99, 23:20

Oops! I see that typo. "God" thing was a "good" thing and probably with the help of divine intervention, too! (Smile)

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By on Sun, 02-28-99, 19:26

Mary Catherine,

Funny you should mention communion! My daughter will be making her First Communion in May. Thank goodness I have 3 years to go before my son makes his!

We have always sat in the second row of the church (1st row is reserved for the handicapped). This might help your son once he is able to receive communion. If you sit up close and be the first ones at communion, there may be less of a risk...and as you know, the Priest washes his hands before communion. But then again, there is the matter of the Eucharistic Ministers who receive communion before we do. Boy, there is no easy answer is there? Anyone else have an opinion on this?

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited February 28, 1999).]

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By on Mon, 03-01-99, 02:37

The entire time I sat in Mass tonight, I couldn't help but go over in my mind all the discussion on this board about "what ifs" in church. (I think I missed the sermon).

Of all the timing...After Mass, we usually chit chat in the pew for a few minutes. The couple behind us had their new baby and we were all oohing and aahing and their 2 1/2 yo had a baggie of what looked liked pretzels. The toddler handed his snack to one our friends standing there with us and he was pretending like he was going to eat the little boy's snack. As he pretends to be reaching into the bag, the mother pointed out that they weren't pretzels, they were something new and they had peanut butter in them. Turns out our friend holding the bag is ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS! Thank God he didn't grab one.

Mary Catherine, I don't think there is an easy answer to the dilema at church. I think if we "what if" ourselves too much, we are going to be committed! I think we are all wonderful parents here and as long as we know we are doing the best for our children, I think that is all we can do. (But I do share your concerns)!

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By terry on Wed, 03-03-99, 17:00

We home schooled our peanut allergic child for religious ed. Our thinking was that the religious ed. folks are all volunteers, & it may be above & beyond there volunteer efforts to have to deal with anaphylaxis, epi-pens, etc. We do believe the schools have to make necessary accomidations, according to the ADA laws (the recent Arkansas decision notwithstanding). As teachers, principals, school nurses, etc. are employed by your tax dollar, they need to be responsive to the children in the community. After dealing with the school system,we also considered home schooling religous ed. easier for us & the volunteer teachers. I know of an individual with a peanut allergic child that does paperwork just a stones throw away from their child's religous ed. room.

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By Mary Murtishaw on Tue, 03-09-99, 02:51

Every time I drop my son off in the nursery, I always mention his allergy to them. I've come up with an idea, although I have not tried it yet. I am going to get a bright orange piece of paper and write his allergies on it. I will laminate it, poke a hole in the top of it, and attach something to it that I can clip on his shirt (either a pacifier holder or some other type of clip). Everytime we go to church, he will be wearing his little allergy card. It will be so bright everyone will automatically look at it. When I try it, I'll let you know how well it works.


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By Lschubert on Tue, 03-09-99, 15:44




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By EPIERCE on Tue, 03-09-99, 17:15

I am making bright stickers using my computer and sticking them on everything from Harley's shirt to her bottles & carseat! An easy way to do it! I also mark her snacks with the stickers & I bring her & my other daughters food with us everywhere.

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By Lisa M on Wed, 03-10-99, 22:47

I was so interested reading everyone's experiences with church. When our son was in the toddler nursery I always asked what was the snack, showed the epipen and Benadryl, got a beeper so I could be called. This one Sunday a couple was in there taking care of the kids and I went through the whole thing and they said they didn't know where the snacks were and didn't plan on giving any. I said great. I stilled showed the epi and Ben. and got the beeper. After the service I went to pick him up and he is sitting in a chair crying his eyes out. As I got closer to him I see he is having a reaction. I said(almost screamed!), "What has he eaten" and they said "Nothing." I said he is having an allergic reaction! They kept saying he hadn't had anything. I yank out the Benadryl and give it to him and go down the hall to find my husband and older son. We were all so upset and once we got in the car I told my husband I had to go back in the room to see what it was or I'd never ever send him back. I went and there sitting on a shelf was a tupperware container of Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. I was so mad and found the nursery coordinator and told her what had happened. Later that day I went to the store to read the ingredients label on a box of that cereal and saw that the crunchberries are made with real strawberry juice (Brett is allergic to strawberries, too). All I kept thinking was what if it were Peanut Cap'n Crunch. I would like to think this couple thought Brett had not eaten any and had not actually lied about it, but I know they had it out for the other kids because that tupperware container was not out when I dropped him off. Sorry this is so long and I am venting but it still scares me to death. That wasa year and a half ago and my husband and I went to separate services for a year after that so one of us could stay home with Brett. He is now going again, but is in a 2 and young 3 class that has the same teacher every week that we have known for 6 or 7 years. She tells us everyweek what they are having and does not have peanut snacks. We still check all the time. I guess it will never be foolproof.
Thanks for listening! Lisa

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By on Thu, 03-11-99, 02:29


What a horrific story! My heart was racing on your every word of your post. For your son's sake (and yours) I'm glad he came through alright. People must think we have nothing better to do then go through our "spiel"...we could resite it in our sleep, and then have our instructions completely ignored.

Thanks for sharing your story!

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