What would you do?

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At church on Sunday, they had a fair to get people to volunteer for various activities. The theme was "Get in the game."

So what do you know, they are handing out cups of peanuts in between services and to everyone, inc. the kids.

So my DH stayed with DD in Sunday school making sure she was ok..So we are done and walking out of her class and there are peanuts EVERYWHERE! On the ground, crushed all over,people are eating them. It was a nightmare. Needless to say we hightailed it out of there. I am really disappointed though that they chose to hand out peanuts. The lady who put the thing together knows about DD's PA and knows of several other kids with PA as well. Plus, a lot of others that are in the different ministries know too. We have been to Awana's and are part of their homeschool co-op on church grounds.

So my thing is we have to go back there this week! How in the heck is DD going to avoid any contact with leftover peanut residue? My sis thinks I should write a letter to the pastors and let them know but part of me thinks I may be overstepping my bounds...I know peanuts are part of life and maybe I should just deal with it?

any comments? Thanks! shelley

On Aug 30, 2005

How about...peanut allergies are a part of life so maybe they should just deal with it.

I don't mean that disrespectfully.

The thing is...they [i]don't[/i] deal with this on a regular basis. Personally, based on how you've posted, I wouldn't think their actions were spiteful...more forgetful.

So, I wouldn't write a letter. I prefer to do these things in person so that if there are questions pastor has, he can ask me then and there.

A church parish is a community. Our church feeds our neighbors who are hungry. They clothe those who are cold. They visit those who are sick. I don't think it is out of bounds for them to support those in the community who are allergic, especially since handing out something [i]instead of[/i]peanuts would keep your DD safe and would also not diminish the weight of the theme.

On Aug 30, 2005

Yes Peanuts are a part of life. If you go to a ball park, you are going to have to deal with it. At a church function, not so much!

We send the girls to religious education classes every summer. They are so wonderful about making sure all the food is safe for them. None of the other kids suffer b/c peanuts aren't permitted. This year they even were able to have ice cream and pizza! Doesn't sound like a hardship to me!

I would definitely contact someone at the church.. if the organizer is being ignorant, then I would most certainly take it to the pastor.

On Aug 30, 2005

I would talk with your minister about making the church a safe place for your child. Child safety should touch some buttons (not that you're trying to push any--but churches want to make sure they are safe havens for children). I would tell him or her what that means. It may not mean that the church become completely peanut free (if it has a Mom's Day Out, that may be a hard thing to accomplish). But it could mean that it's safe for your child to be at church. That your child isn't excluded.

When I wanted my church to become safe for DS, I did this. My minister at that time suspected his youngest may be PN, but that honestly didn't play into this because they were in complete denial.

Anyway, I talked about this in terms of inclusion--and the message of the Gospel, which to me is ultimately about love and radical inclusion.

I addressed our church's cabinet. That consisted of deacons--basically the mid-level decision makers who represented each church committee. I outlined what it would mean to have a safe church (no peanut products at church gatherings, VBS, no one feeding DS without my knowledge of the food, etc.). They voted on it, and it went to the church board. They voted on it. It passed. An article was written for the church newspaper, and every once in a while it was refreshed.

We've since moved, and I'm about to do that again with our current church, where we made being peanut safe a condition of coming here (and were in a position of doing so). But Sunday night at our ministry fair one of the booths--a booth I believe coordinated by someone who was DS' first babysitter here and knows of his allergy well--there was an open carton of PB cookies. These were store bakery bought. They were on the table with a similar box of chocolate chip. I closed the box and put it behind their display board. I'm going to bring this up in a big way. DS couldn't have any of those cookies--that's fine. I absolutely never expect there to be safe stuff for him there and try to keep a box of safe stuff in the kitchen. But they could have at least have gotten other kinds.

So it's a process of reeducation. Constant.

A few months ago there was a church reception in our fellowship area (also the sanctuary, BTW, so the chairs were the same), and they served peanuts. DS started coughing, and we just removed him from the sitauation. They are the same chairs that are used in Sunday worship, but so far there's been no reaction, but DH has talked about setting a policy about that. That's going to be tough and unpopular, because peanuts are traditional at weddings with cake.

Anyway, good luck.

Get broad support--get some kind of official vote--couch it in theological terms. It's not twisting anything; I believe we in the church should do everything we can to "let the little children come." If we don't--if we don't practice a radical inclusivity that says all are welcome, we're committing a terrible sin.

On Aug 30, 2005

If I were generally well known and involved at the church, I would speak to someone who has the control over this, about being unable to participate because of that experience. That it was simply too dangerous and cannot risk it again. Then you can ask if some education on the allergies could be done and letters asking for no nuts. Something like that. I would imagine they want to keep you around and involved. Offer your help in making a plan or a letter, or some food policies.

My dd went to a church preschool. It seems these programs do alot of food stuff! Anyway, they were peanut(and nut) free, and it seemed to overflow into the church(not our parish) to some degree. They spread awareness that it was nut free for school, and people generally kept it to a minimum. I am sure they had baked items at dinners that were risky, but generally, the teachers who were parish memebrs said there were not noticable nuts around.

Something like that would certainly reduce the risk. I am flexible since my dd has not had airborne reactions, but nuts all over would make me leave. Period. becca

On Aug 30, 2005

It makes me want to cry. This brings back a lot of painful memories about my church. We had been at the church for 10 years where we were awana leaders and sunday school secretary for most of those 10 years. We were very very involved. It started at the 1 year old nursury and every year I had to re explain the allergy and everyone always acted like it was the first they heard of it. I would talk to everyone from the head pastor all the way to the workers and every year it was news. It came to a head on Easter sunday when the teacher handed out peanut butter eggs to everyone. I was slamming my had on the admin pastors desk asking him what it would take for my church to hear me. We left the church for about 8 weeks and came back but it was never the same. We ended up moving away about a year or so later. I was really sad to see the church so indifferent to his allergy. It was as if they were trying to somehow protect themselves if something happened so they could say they didnt know about it. I am sorry I didnt give you any advice on how to handle it because of ALL the places we have dealt with, our church was the worst. I think the hardest thing is to figure out WHO to get the info to.

On Aug 30, 2005

We dealt with this for years at our church, until finally, I had an emotional breakdown during a meeting. We were planning a function that involved food (most church functions seem to involve food), and I had already had a rough week with the school. I simply stated (before my meltdown) that if they wanted the mix nuts, that was fine, but we wouldn't be able to attend, so they would need to find someone else to help serve. First they looked at me like I had three heads. HUH? And then someone said, "Oh, right because of Drew's allergies."

Apparently the right people were in the meeting, because the next week there were signs up that declared our church building a "Peanut free zone"! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It has been in the church bulletin a couple of times as reminders. Of course, when you have that many people bringing food there will be some that forget, but the "Food Committee" volunteers, simply put the peanut/nut products aside and don't serve them (we don't eat at church dinners anyway). It really got the attention of many when there were ZERO pecan pies at the Thanksgiving dinner! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

And our building rental contracts for weddings and such has a "No nut" policy -- even for wedding receptions!!!

You definitely need to talk to your minister. Our church has been better than I ever imagined it would be!

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