Jenna Roman created a GoFundMe last month about her search for specific waffles for her almost-10-year-old son, Jerico. She said on the page her son has autism, extreme oral aversion and eating challenges, and “has been struggling with eating since he was 8 months old when more textured food was introduced.”
Roman explained that her son regressed in 2020 after becoming sick with what she suspected was COVID-19. He stopped eating for 12 days and “had regressed so much he had to relearn how to drink and eat,” Roman said.
Jerico’s favorite waffles were unavailable due to production issues during the pandemic and his mom had him try various waffles until he finally accepted the maple cinnamon version from the Canada-based brand Nature’s Path. “I was so relieved that finally he accepted a new kind as I was almost out of the old kind,” she wrote. “I was also happy it was a company that I thought was local so I wouldn’t have to go through that amount of stress again.”
However, Nature’s Path discontinued the maple cinnamon waffles Jerico has come to love and Roman became desperate. She created the GoFundMe to ask others to send her any boxes they find in stores before they’re sold out for good. “I am asking for help to find and cover the costs of the waffles plus a deep freezer to store them as they are frozen,” she wrote.
She said not everyone understands the severity of Jerico’s challenge “and think that eventually he will just accept another kind but it doesn’t work like that,” Roman said. “He would go on a hunger strike if I didn’t have his waffles.”
The single mother of three boys also said she reached out to Nature’s Path, and the company replied that they are shipping boxes from the U.S to Canada for her. “I am unsure at how much that are coming but I am grateful for anything at this point,” she wrote, adding that she would still like others to help her find waffles in stores.
She also asked if anyone had a recipe so she could replicate Jerico’s favorite waffles at home. “I am even willing to purchase the recipe if Natures Path allows that,” she wrote. “Just needing some security that when my waffle stock runs out that I will be able to make the waffles to feed my son.”
“I’m just trying to feed my son, I’ve been through so much around him just eating, something that would be simple for other children but it’s an extremely hard challenge for my son,” Roman said.
Roman has since added several updates to the GoFundMe page – sharing the good news that several people sent her boxes of Jerico’s favorite waffles. Many of the waffles came from store managers who saw Jerico’s story and wanted to help. Roman received so many boxes that she had to buy two extra freezers to store her stock.
And if her donated supply ever runs out, Roman now has a backup plan: Nature’s Path adapted their waffle recipes for home.
“Remember the story of Jerico and the @NaturesPath Maple Cinnamon waffles?” Samantha Falk, the company’s communications director, tweeted on Friday. “Well, I am so happy to say our incredible R&D Team was able to adapt our recipe for home use – and we delivered the recipe and all the ingredients to Jerico & his mom Jenna today. Bon appetit!!”
In an email to CBS News, Falk said she personally dropped off the recipe and a care package of ingredients to Roman and Jerico.
She had met them about a month prior when she dropped off the last of the Nature’s Path maple cinnamon waffles. The company had searched North America for any remaining supply and found its last remaining cases at a warehouse in Illinois, which were flown to Vancouver for Jerico, Falk said.
Falk said it took the research and development team about a month to adapt the recipe for home use and it was tricky since there are some commercial ingredients that aren’t available on a small scale at the grocery store.
They also needed to ensure they were recreating the exact same taste and texture, Falk said. After testing and re-testing they came up with what they thought was the perfect replica of the maple cinnamon waffles, but told Roman that if the recipe isn’t exact, they would tweak it again.