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Sydney Hankin


Swarthmore College '27

Allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, broad beans

Hometown: Manhattan, NY

Sydney writes book reviews for the publication BookPage. She is also passionate about education and educational equity, spending last summer working as a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia. In her free time, she loves to listen to and play bluegrass music, read historical fiction novels, and bake nut-free desserts with friends and family.

I’m a freshman at Swarthmore College with allergies to peanuts, most tree nuts, and sesame seeds. I also have FPIES to broad beans, a type of food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal tract. I was diagnosed with food allergies before I was eating solid food, so I quite literally cannot remember a time before I knew I had allergies and was responsible for all the condition entails: reading and re-reading labels at supermarkets, asking waiters and chefs to check menu ingredients, and bringing homemade cupcakes to childhood birthday parties. All that to say: living with food allergies is a genuine challenge!

I’m grateful for the many allergen-friendly companies that have emerged over recent years, making my allergies easier to handle. But rare thought is given to the fact that food-insecure or pantry-reliant families face just as wide a variety of dietary restrictions, and thus are in need of these same specialty resourcesones commonly produced by small, start-up or family-owned businesses and using more esoteric ingredients, leading to higher and often unaffordable price tags. Hearing from pantry visitors that Securing Safe Food’s work is filling a key void in the food pantry sector, leading to more equity within the system, has added tremendous value to my life. I strongly believe that alleviating hunger in this country will depend on a shift in mindset, one that zooms in to the individual level and focuses on ensuring that every person is able to access foods that are personally, uniquely safe for them.

Sydney Hankin
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