Valentine's Gems To Warm Your Heart


by Caroline Moassessi, FAACT Vice President of Community Relations

I love a good, old-fashioned gushy moment about unconditional love printed on a frilly pink card. As I recently cruised the greeting card aisles, I was glad to be wearing a face mask so strangers could not see me tearing up over the Valentine’s Day sentiments.

I headed home, cards in hand, to navigate a different challenge: guiding my daughter through the college accommodation process. After a few moments on FAACT’s website, she was able to find the verbiage she needed to get her single room status billing sorted out. I felt that same gush of unconditional love for FAACT’s support after my daughter promptly received an email confirming the appropriately lower cost for her room.

Where would I be without my food allergy and FAACT family? You are always there for my family and me. Be it a text offering support after an allergic reaction, sharing new food finds, or legal aid for accommodations – the love is there 24/7.

Filled with this unconditional love, I want to share with you 10 of my favorite gems from our FAACT family – resources that have been life-changing for my family and many others.

Top 10 FAACT Gems that warm my heart:

  1. FAACT Programs for Kids and Teens. There has not been one Teen Retreat where I have not been tearing up or a Camp TAG video that has not had me diving for the tissue box. The joy and sense of belonging I see on the children’s faces pull at my heart every single time, and I encourage every family to get their kids and teens involved. (This year’s “virtual” Camp TAG makes it even easier to join in if you can’t join in person!)
  2. Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis Poster. This utilitarian treasure is hanging inside my hall closet, taped to my kid’s closet door in her dorm room, and folded up in my purse. The peace of mind it brings is exactly what my heart and mental health need.
  3. Baking Summer Memories and Red, White, and Blueberry Donuts Blog. Baker Katie Martino Lopez describes the perfect summer of family togetherness without all the stress, bells, and whistles that get in the way of genuine family love. I read this post when I want to be inspired!
  4. Food Allergy Resilience Kit. This professionally created coping tool is geared toward children K-8th grade, but I’m sure older teens and adults can use it too! This free, downloadable treasure is pure coping gold packed with brightly colored cutouts, activities, and inspiration. The kit was designed to help children develop a growth mindset to look at bad situations and see how they can overcome them. It is a must-download item for every family!
  5. Navigating Parties, Dating, and Friends at College with Food Allergies Podcast. You know the podcast is going to be powerful when you hear, “Mom, close your ears” from one of the college-aged guests. I was touched by the bravery and honesty of two FAACT Camp Counselors as they shared their challenges and successes navigating the college social scene.
  6. FAACT’s Pinterest Page for Cultural Allergy-Friendly Recipes. As someone always on the prowl for allergen-safe recipes to help my Persian, Greek, and Mexican family celebrate the blend of our cultures, this beautiful array of dishes makes my heart melt! There are enough recipes to make any grandmother proud, from gluten-free Challah to dairy-free Tikka Masala and a simple Adas Polo (Persian rice dish).
  7. College Resource Center – Legal Considerations. I would be remiss if I didn’t include this gem, which helped my daughter quickly explain why her newly assigned single dorm room supported her accommodations and therefore needed to be charged at the standard double rate. Using the right words helped her sound like she meant business and knew her rights, and she resolved the problem in less than 20 minutes.
  8. Newly Diagnosed Webpage. I tear up when I think back to the moment 21 years ago when a stranger, who had heard of my struggle to learn about food allergies, handed me a 3-inch-thick binder packed with information. The food allergy diagnosis was incredibly overwhelming and I had no idea where to turn. When I compare that with today, when a family can visit FAACT’s Newly Diagnosed webpage and find the resources they need any time (some of my best research takes place after midnight), my heart sings.
  9. Behavioral Health Resource Center. Yes, this entire Resource Center is a shining gem where peace, support, and calm can be found. The world is challenging, and sometimes we need tools to help us climb that mountain or simply get through the day. This section of FAACT’s website has resources for kids, teens, adults, parents, and anyone else affected by food allergies.
  10. Holiday Crossword Puzzles and Word Searches. These cheery, brightly colored downloads are free and promise to entertain. Print one out, wrap it around a pencil, and tie it with a bow. Now you have a smartly priced gift for your kids and their buddies.

I hope you feel the same love and support when you peruse these gems as I have.

The entire FAACT Family wishes you a heart-felt Happy Valentine’s Day.