Turning Buildings Teal In Honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week!
Food Allergy Awareness Week 2016 is in full swing, and each night landmark buildings across America will be lit up in teal in order to raise awareness about food allergies. Scheduled lightings include The Empire State Building in NYC, Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Peace Bridge in Buffalo, Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Niagara Falls, The Zakim Bridge in Boston, and more!
A large majority of these buildings have been turned teal as a result of the work of the grassroots organization Turn it Teal. Founded by Stephanie Lowe, the mother of a child with multiple food allergies, this is a deeply personal cause for her. Turn it Teal’s mission is simple:Â to raise food allergy awareness one lighting at a time. Every time a building is lit up in teal, it assists in sparking the conversation about food allergies and provides an opportunity to increase understanding about living with food allergies.
I was lucky enough to speak with Stephanie about how Turn It Teal got started, the process of turning a building teal, how we can help, and more.
AFW: How did Turn It Teal get started?
Stephanie: In 2014 I decided to try and get a local building, The Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio lit teal in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week. I was surprised when they said yes but very excited! The next year it was the Terminal and Niagara Falls, and we just keep growing from there.
AFW: What’s the process for getting a building to turn teal?
Stephanie: There are a few avenues we use to go about a lighting. Some buildings have an application process where there is a form to fill out with the information about the cause and how you will get the word out to people. Others require more investigative work and then there are some where we have had friends who know people who can help make lightings happen, which was the case in Atlanta with the King and Queen buildings.
AFW: What’s been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Stephanie: Our greatest accomplishment to date has been the growth we’ve experienced. We had the goal of turning at least 10 buildings teal this year, and we’ve already reached it! If even 100 people become more aware of food allergies, anaphylaxis, and the treatment of an anaphylactic reaction, that’s 100 more people out there watching out for those with life threatening allergies. We obviously hope we reach many more than that, but every bit of awareness helps!
AFW: How many buildings have you turned teal?Â What are your hopes for Turn it Teal in the future?
Stephanie: There are 13 total buildings, some of those have been granted to other allergy organizations such as FARE and Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative. I hope we can grow the number of sites each year and add in more west coast sites. Our map is a little thin out on there, we would love more suggestions from out that way!
AFW: How can we help turning more buildings teal?
Stephanie: We only know of sites to contact through the community! Sometimes I’ll be watching TV and think maybe that building can be lit up for causes, and I will start my detective work. I want people to know that we do look into EVERY site that is sent to us on the website and via social media. Some sites we are not able to secure for financial or timing issues but we do reach out to each and every one we’ve received. So keep the suggestions coming and we will keep exploring all our options!
Have a site to suggest? Share them here.