Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.
Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: Anyone who thinks they can’t make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small the gesture.
It’s official. I have totally been glutened (although honestly I wish there was a better term for it because I feel that “glutened” somehow minimizes what happens to us). Long, long day yesterday and we’ll see where today takes me. So bear with today’s post. Since forming words could be a challenge, I’m going to use mostly pictures.
So if you recall from last week, a 10-year-old fellow celiac named Hannah emailed me and was having a rough go at it. I responded to the best of my ability and also said that if was ok with her parents, I’d be happy to send her a gluten-free goodie bag.
Well…on Thursday night, I received the following email from Hannah’s mom.
I wanted to thank you for posting my daughter’s email to you. Reading your kind thoughts, and all the really wonderful comments left on your blog, have really helped her morale. Having celiac can be such a lonely experience — your blog plays such a valuable role by creating a community of celiacs.
Hannah would like to take you up on your offer to send along some gluten free goodies. I’m hesitant to put you out, when you already give so much through your blog. But if you really mean it, you can send the package to my office.
So I asked her where she was located and she was in New York City. Bing! Turns out I was going to the city the following day to meet some friends for dinner. Double Bing!!
Here is my journey….
I take a train up to the city via NJ Transit. They have come a long way since my commuting days. The train was only 30 minutes late and the conductors were only semi-snotty. Here is a picture of me jumping on the train.
Next stop is Jennifer’s Way Bakery, where Jen and her team said they would put together an awesome package for Hannah. But Jen also said I needed to try her bread so she made both myself and Hannah’s mom fresh bread. It takes 25 minutes or so to cook so in the meanwhile, I shot the breeze with Jennifer and nibbled on some Quinoa Bread with Jam…
…and then had a banana sandwich on pecan-raisin bread with honey and organic peanut butter. It. Was. Amazing.
And then the bread was done. Holy moly. One for me and one for Hannah’s mom.
I took a very small piece to try it. Ahhh, who am I kidding…I dug into it like I hadn’t eaten in days.
Then Jennifer’s team packed up Hannah’s goodie box…
…and off I went…walking the 2 miles to go see Hannah’s mom.
When Mrs. Dude and I are in the city, we play the Starbucks game. Whoever sees one first gets a point. 1-0 hon.
I arrived a hot, sweaty mess. Note to self…take the subway next time. Hannah’s mom could not have been more gracious and more appreciative.
A few day’s later, I received the following email from Hannah’s mom:
It was wonderful to meet you on Friday. Hannah was delighted with the box of goodies you brought her. I was too. Jennifer’s rosemary bread is hands down the best bread I’ve had since I went gluten free, and I had to swallow my pride to say that because I’m a pretty good baker. Here’s a photo of Hannah enjoying one of the cookies (the cupcakes disappeared too quickly for me to get a photo of her eating them).
I was happy. Jennifer was happy. Hannah’s mom was happy. And Hannah was happy. It was a win-win all around.
Every small gesture counts folks. What will you do this month for a fellow celiac?