A Social Innovation: Addressing Relative Food Insecurity and Social Exclusion

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    See theories of poverty described Royce, E. (2015). Poverty and power: The problem of structural inequality. Rowman and Littlefield.

  2. 2.

    The Participatiewet [Participation Law]. See http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0015703/2017-10-01#Hoofdstuk2.

  3. 3.

    Jarige Job: http://www.stichtingjarigejob.nl/ and Orange Foundation/Oranje Fonds: https://view.publitas.com/oranje-fonds/oranje-fonds-groeiprogramma-publicatie-groei/page/1.

  4. 4.

    See laws on absenteeism at https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/education/compulsory-education/

  5. 5.

    In conversation with Mr. Huib Lloyd (2018).

  6. 6.

    At the end of the day, volunteers celebrate their achievements with a photoshoot and often stories about own birthdays and gifts from their school days See http://www.stichtingjarigejob.nl.

  7. 7.

    A famous miniature theme park and tourist attraction that welcomes about 400,000 children each year and fundraises for the Madurodam Foundation that helps children.

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Acknowledgement

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.

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Correspondence to Femida Handy.

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Meijs, L., Handy, F., Simons, F. et al. A Social Innovation: Addressing Relative Food Insecurity and Social Exclusion. Voluntas 31, 894–906 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-019-00105-8

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Keywords

  • Relative food insecurity
  • Social innovation
  • Legitimacy social exclusion
  • Children
  • Nonprofit