A Social Innovation: Addressing Relative Food Insecurity and Social Exclusion

  • Lucas Meijs
  • Femida HandyEmail author
  • Frans-Joseph Simons
  • Lonneke Roza
Original Paper


Food insecurity manifests itself on a continuum, and we note that it can range from absolute food insecurity to relative food insecurity, especially in the context of affluent countries. We focus on one such relative food insecurity that manifests itself when Dutch children cannot afford the culturally appropriate foods to participate birthday celebrations in primary schools, which is a long-established local custom. The inability of children to celebrate their birthdays in this public manner leads to school absenteeism, stigmatization, and social exclusion. This case study analyzes an intervention undertaken by Jarige Job, a Dutch nonprofit, that recognized and addressed this hidden social problem by using existing networks and infrastructures of national foodbanks. It provides insight into how a unique intervention of providing birthday boxes has become a successful social innovation that not only combats this relative food insecurity but is also able to address and mitigate the challenges of moral and cognitive legitimacy.


Relative food insecurity Social innovation Legitimacy social exclusion Children Nonprofit 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Huib Lloyd, founder of Jarige Job, and his staff and volunteers for their willingness to share information and their hospitality. The authors also thank the reviewers, the editors of Voluntas, and the editors of this special issue for their guidance as well as Ms. Philine van Overbeek for her general support in this project, and Mr. Omkar Katta for his editing skills.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Business-Society Management of the Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Social Policy and PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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