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The “dark side” of food banks? Exploring emotional responses of food bank receivers in the Netherlands

The “dark side” of food banks? Exploring emotional responses of food bank receivers in the... Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address how food, social status as well as the interactions at the food bank induce emotions in receivers, such as shame, gratitude and anger. Since early 2000s a steadily growing number of low‐income and/or over‐indebted households in the Netherlands alleviate their situation with food donations from local food banks. Such food banks collect from companies edible food that would otherwise have gone to waste. The growing demand for food assistance indicates it is a welcome contribution to the groceries in many households. However, receiving food assistance as well as eating the products forces the receivers to set aside embodied dispositions towards food and norms about how to obtain food. Furthermore, it places them in interactions of charitable giving that may be harmful to the self‐esteem of receivers. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a qualitative study at a food bank in the Netherlands, consisting among others of in‐depth interviews with 17 receivers of food assistance, observations and several interviews with volunteers. Findings – Of all emotions that were expressed during the interviews, shame appeared as the most prominent. Particularly issues of shame emerged in relation to all three food‐bank‐related experiences: the content of the crate, the interaction with volunteers and lastly the understanding of one's positioning in a social hierarchy. While shame can be a very private emotion – even talking about being ashamed can be shameful – it is also an utterly social emotion. Originality/value – This research is among the few ones explicitly addressing emotional emotions related to receivers in food bank. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Food Journal Emerald Publishing

The “dark side” of food banks? Exploring emotional responses of food bank receivers in the Netherlands

British Food Journal , Volume 116 (9): 15 – Aug 26, 2014

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0007-070X
DOI
10.1108/BFJ-02-2014-0081
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address how food, social status as well as the interactions at the food bank induce emotions in receivers, such as shame, gratitude and anger. Since early 2000s a steadily growing number of low‐income and/or over‐indebted households in the Netherlands alleviate their situation with food donations from local food banks. Such food banks collect from companies edible food that would otherwise have gone to waste. The growing demand for food assistance indicates it is a welcome contribution to the groceries in many households. However, receiving food assistance as well as eating the products forces the receivers to set aside embodied dispositions towards food and norms about how to obtain food. Furthermore, it places them in interactions of charitable giving that may be harmful to the self‐esteem of receivers. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a qualitative study at a food bank in the Netherlands, consisting among others of in‐depth interviews with 17 receivers of food assistance, observations and several interviews with volunteers. Findings – Of all emotions that were expressed during the interviews, shame appeared as the most prominent. Particularly issues of shame emerged in relation to all three food‐bank‐related experiences: the content of the crate, the interaction with volunteers and lastly the understanding of one's positioning in a social hierarchy. While shame can be a very private emotion – even talking about being ashamed can be shameful – it is also an utterly social emotion. Originality/value – This research is among the few ones explicitly addressing emotional emotions related to receivers in food bank.

Journal

British Food JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 26, 2014

Keywords: The Netherlands; Food waste; Food banks; Emotional responses; Poverty allevation

References