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"We're not a bottomless pit": food banks' capacity to sustainably meet increasing demand

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Based on research with 21 food banks across eight local authority areas in England, this article examines the sustainability of food banks in their attempts to balance demand and supply. Against a background of multiple deprivation and welfare reforms in the UK, food banks are becoming increasingly important for growing numbers of people. However, at a time when food banks' ability to meet this increasing demand is close to capacity, this article examines how social purpose is a core element in food banks' understanding of sustainability. With food banks having little control over the level of demand, and supply being increasingly close to capacity, if demand exceeds supply, sustainability will necessitate either denying demand or expanding supply.
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Keywords: DEMAND AND SUPPLY; FOOD BANKS; POVERTY; SUSTAINABILITY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 March 2018

This article was made available online on 05 January 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "“We’re not a bottomless pit”: food banks’ capacity to sustainably meet increasing demand".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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