article ‘New model of food pantry helps people maintain their dignity’
This January 2012 newspaper article highlighted, among other issues, efforts by a local food pantry to enhance both image and competency of people using the pantry: ‘The new location allows it to be set up like a grocery store to give people a sense of dignity … Where before volunteers pre-bagged food and handed it to people … now people have the option to choose things they like to eat.’ Such an approach is thus potentially more role-valorizing for the people coming to the pantry for food. To be clear, the article did not use role language but that is my interpretation of what the food pantry is reportedly doing.
This practice still raises questions pertinent to the culturally valued analog concept in Social Role Valorization (SRV monograph by Wolfensberger, 1998, pp. 117-118; PASSING ratings manual, Wolfensberger & Thomas, 2007, pp. 30-31). The culturally valued analog provides for a baseline in a sense: what is the range of societally valued and expected practices that can act as a model or standard for a particular service practice? How are such needs generally met for socially valued people in valued ways in the valued culture or society? For example, the culturally valued analog for residential services includes the different forms of home which are socially valued, with which we are familiar, and of which we hold positive expectations (PASSING manual, Wolfensberger & Thomas, 2007, p. 30).
What is the culturally valued analog for putting food on the table and feeding one’s family? It would likely include a range of options, such as shopping in a market, using a gift card at certain shops, shopping at a farmer’s market, eating out, eating with family or at a friend’s house, borrowing some specific groceries from a neighbor under certain circumstances, growing some of your food at home or in a community plot (at least in certain geographic locales and during certain times of the year), buying or splitting or working a share in a community supported farm, and so on. In light of the culturally valued analog, getting food from a food pantry, even if it is becoming more typical for more people in these hard economic times, is still generally not a positively valued practice surrounded by positive expectations, even with the positive adaptations mentioned in the article referenced above.
Another level of SRV-based consideration of course is address of need. If you have no food, getting food is a pressing need obviously, so a food pantry can at least provide some immediate help in partly addressing that need quite directly. However, the culturally valued analog also asks us to consider the how of addressing relevant need.
For more on this issue, see an article published in the 2004 SRV-VRS: The International Social Role Valorization Journal, 5(1&2), 72-74.
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: competency enhancement, culturally valued analog, image enhancement, PASSING, poverty, Social Role Valorization, Wolf Wolfensberger