Kitchens and Pantries—Helping or Hindering? The Perspectives of Emergency Food Users in Victoria, Australia

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Lindberg, R. ; Lawrence, M. ; Caraher, M. (2016)

In high-income countries, people affected by food insecurity may seek out free/subsidized food from charities. Their perceptions of the food programs provided and preferences for alternative strategies are underresearched. The aim of this study was to develop an understanding of the users’ experiences of food insecurity and gain evidence for effective responses in the future. Twelve semistructured interviews with a sample of users, who were also charity volunteers, were conducted in Victoria, Australia. A thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was undertaken. The results show that users have complex needs. Charities have both the capacity to hinder and help people maintain dignity, social inclusion, and health. Alternative community and policy food security strategies were proposed by interviewees. In the future, perspectives of affected community members must inform strategies that seek to improve people’s access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. A human right to food framework is discussed as a mechanism to help realize food security in Australia.
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