Betty Barfield is President oif one of the most active Gluten Intolerance Group in North Texas. I have asked her to share a few words with you and to bring you into her world, her thoughts and what drives her and her team to have one of the most successful and effective celiac support groups. In her unedited words, I introduce you to Betty Barfield:
Our support group was born in June of 2004 when six of our founding members decided to start our own group closer to where we all lived. We decided early on that we wanted our group to be part of the Gluten Intolerance Group. Three of us went to Portland, OR that June to the national Gluten Intolerance Group conference and met with Cynthia Kupper on how to begin this group. She mentored us fledglings and got us on the right track on how to form GIG of North Texas.
The six of us put in “seed” money to open a bank account so we could buy some cookbooks and pay for some printing. We all agreed between the six of us the leadership positions in the group. The leadership hasn’t changed all that much over the years and we have a very dedicated group of leaders. We decided at that first meeting that we would conduct a 101 class for the newly diagnosed. We came up with a curriculum to teach from and at our very first meeting, we had a class separate from the support group. We’ve had a class for the new ones almost every meeting for seven years.
We started small trying to get our foot in the door with the medical and dietetic community to let them know we existed and were there to help new patients. It was very slow with a lot of closed doors, but we kept on trying until we gained the recognition and support from the medical community in our area and beyond. We now have doctors who send their patients straight to our 101 class every month.
We average 75-125 people at almost all our meetings year round. We have an active kid’s group with dedicated volunteers helping to arrange parties for the little ones every few months. We regularly have dining out opportunities as a group to some of the restaurants in our area who love our gluten free business and ask us to come and dine there. How different that is from 5-10 years ago! GIG of North Texas also produces a quarterly newsletter, which is quite extensive and has a large subscription base. It travels in cyberspace probably much further than we even know and that’s a good thing. We hope it helps anyone needing information about the gluten free lifestyle, medical updates, recipes or perhaps a story that relates to them anywhere in the world, which is pretty much our mission statement.
Our group is very active and growing thanks to the many volunteers we have within our group. Without the help of everyone involved, we would not be as successful as we are.
Betty Barfield- President, Gluten Intolerance Group of North Texas – www.northtexasgig.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Miranda Jade Turbin
From our home to yours, Miranda Jade.