Negotiating purpose : Oregon's gleaning organizations and their roles in relieving hunger and poverty Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/t722hd44x

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  • For over 25 years organized groups of low-income families in Oregon have been gathering food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing this food among organization members. The purpose of this research study is to explore the potential for these organizations (gleaning groups) to contribute not only to food distribution, but also to the reduction of poverty through the development of human capital (acquiring knowledge and skills) and social capital (building relationships of trust and support) among participants in these organizations. Data was collected through participant observation at a regional food distribution agency and seven gleaning group sites, as well as interviews with 13 key informants working with gleaning organizations, and 19 volunteer members of gleaning organizations. The results of this study indicate that gleaning groups are contributing to the development of human and social capital by providing individuals with opportunities such as working closely with other gleaners, carrying out the administrative tasks of a non-profit organization and distributing food to shut-in or disabled "adoptee" members of these groups. In addition, this study shows that there are significant hindrances to human and social capital development within gleaning organizations including lack of control over the amount of food groups receive through the national food-banking network, deficiencies in volunteer participation and an emphasis on efficiency in carrying out group tasks. The author suggests incorporating social and human capital development into the stated purposes of gleaning organizations in an effort to stated purposes of gleaning organizations in an effort to intentionally remove barriers to, as well as encourage further investments in these forms of capital.
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