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43 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 71 (2016)
The Cost of Free Assistance: Why Low-Income Individuals Do Not Access Food Pantries

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw43 and id is 71 raw text is: 




The Cost of Free Assistance: Why Low-Income
     Individuals Do Not Access Food Pantries


                         KELLEY  FONG

                  Department of Sociology
                     Harvard   University



                     RACHEL A. WRIGHT

             Sacred  Heart   Community Service


                      CHRISTOPHER   WIMER

          Columbia Population Research Center



    Non-governmental free food assistance is available to many low-
    income Americans through food pantries. However, most do not
    use this assistance, even though it can be worth over $2,000 per
    year. Survey research suggests concrete barriers, such as lack of
    information, account for non-use. In contrast, qualitative studies
    focus on the role of cultural factors, such as stigma. Drawing on
    interviews with 53 low-income individuals in San Francisco who
    did not use food pantries, we reconcile these findings by illus-
    trating how the two types of barriers are connected. Reasons for
    non-use such as need, information, long lines, and food quality
    were rooted in respondents' subjective understandings of those for
    whom  the service was intended, those perceived to use the service,
    and the service's respect for the community. Increasing non-
    profit service utilization requires attention to how potential users
    relate seemingly objective barriers to subjective interpretations.

    Key words:  poverty, food pantries, food assistance, service use,
    nonprofits

    Hunger  is a substantial problem in the United States. More
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, March 2016, Volume XLE, Number 1
                               71

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