Thrift Stores Funding Food Pantries: A Win-Win Strategy for Nonprofits Serving the Poor?
In recent years, nonprofits have started operating thrift stores to reinvest earnings from the stores’ sales in other programs for the poor. Martha’s Table, a nonprofit in Washington DC, has adopted such a strategy. It operates Martha’s Outfitters, a thrift store which provides clothing at low cost to its clientele. Earnings from the thrift store help fund other programs, including Pantry Day which provides free bags of food to very low income beneficiaries once a month. After presenting a profile of the beneficiaries of the thrift store and the food pantry programs, this paper discusses how to estimate the combined benefits of the two programs for low income beneficiaries on the basis of client surveys and other data for both programs. The analysis suggests that these benefits are substantial, so that using thrift stores to fund food pantries may indeed be a win-win strategy for nonprofits serving low income populations.
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- Valerie Tarasuk & Joan Eakin, 2005. "Food assistance through “surplus” food: Insights from an ethnographic study of food bank work," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 22(2), pages 177-186, June.
- Duffy, Patricia A. & Bhattarai, Gandhi Raj & Irimia-Vladu, Marina, 2005. "Regional Differences in Use of Food Stamps and Food Pantries by Low Income Households in the United States," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19420, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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