The rise of food banks has renewed debate about the extent of poverty and the adequacy of welfare provision. We conducted interviews with 25 food bank users in Bristol, finding that benefit penalties and precarious employment are implicated in food bank uptake, but that users’ experiences are more complicated than an unmediated response to hunger. Food banks provide informal support for people on low incomes to manage none food expenditure as well as meeting dietary needs. Some reported shame at needing the food bank, but others suggested that the informality and flexibility were preferable to some forms of state welfare.
- food banks