October 17, 2018
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  • Troop 140 Girl Scouts made flyers and posters with information about food allergies and distributed them around Severna Park.
    Troop 140 Girl Scouts made flyers and posters with information about food allergies and distributed them around Severna Park.

Girl Scout Silver Award Project Brings Awareness to Food Allergies

Alyson Kay
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June 8, 2018

A group of four Girl Scouts from Troop 140 are using their Silver Award project to bring awareness to a growing problem.

According to a study by FAIR Health, incidents of severe allergic reactions to food have risen 377 percent from 2007 to 2016. Because of this, the girls decided to create a grassroots education and awareness initiative about food allergies.

For the troop members, the topic is personal. They have classmates with food allergies and have seen severe reactions before. One of the scouts in the food allergy awareness project, Natalie Mann, has a tree nut allergy and has been hospitalized numerous times from eating foods that she’s allergic to.

Most of the time, the reactions were caused by foods shared by well-meaning people who didn’t know that the foods contained allergens.

For most of the food allergy awareness project, the girls worked on the project together. Very little of the project was done individually.

The girls made flyers and posters with information about food allergies, including statistics and information about what an allergic reaction looks like.

During weekends, they go to places around Severna Park to pass out flyers and talk to people about food allergies. But they spend most of the time at the library.

“We’re taking most of our time at the library because tons of people come here each day, so we let people stop by and look at it,” said Caroline Weems.

They also visit local businesses to distribute flyers so those places can educate their patrons. So far, the reaction from the community has been positive.

“I think it’s gone well,” Caroline said. “Even just now, a lady came by and she said, ‘Thank you for bringing some awareness about this.’”

The girls made a PowerPoint about food allergies to show kids at local elementary schools during their lunch periods. They also plan to hang posters at schools, including Severna Park Middle School, which they all attend.

“We made it so that the elementary school kids could become more aware and learn more about it because it’s a big problem,” said Lillie Johnson.

The girls don’t plan to stop their efforts after they complete their project. They want to continue to advocate new practices that make it easier for people with food allergies to keep themselves safe.

“We just want more people to know about it,” Caroline said. “The main thing that we want is for people to put labels on stuff. More labels on food.”

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