Where do ‘Deelhuisjes’ (sharing cabinets) come from? | translated from ZLND.nu

From the citizens’ initiative ‘Local for Local’, Mira Eijsermans, Marjo Danen and Debbie Boeijen started Deelhuisjes: the locally well-known green houses where people can share food. Those who have enough place it in such houses and those who need it can take it out. It is not a transaction but an unconditional gift based on trust.

For Mira as a mother, grandmother and entrepreneur, it started with an action to share things: for you, from me. She made a call in her area and was flooded with items. So much that her entire living room was full. This left her wanting to do more, but she mainly wanted to keep it local, not necessarily bigger or the entire region. That’s how she came into contact with Marjo and Debbie.

Marjo is a mother and works as a finance staff member. Debbie is Marjo’s neighbor and director of a child centre in Uden. The three of them went to investigate the area: what is already happening and what is needed? They were shocked by the need they saw and on the other hand they were also surprised by the many ways and arrangements to do something about it. Although not all of them seem to have the desired effect. Debbie gives a compelling account of the painful situation: “In neighborhoods where you think there is no poverty, there is. Policy must be drawn up for this.”

Their research revealed three principles that they wanted to work with: 1. preventing waste, 2. increasing a sense of community and 3. supporting people in silent poverty. We are talking about sustainability in the broadest sense of the word. It is precisely the silent poverty that is often surrounded by shame. In their search they saw a gap that authorities are not reaching and that is urgently needed to adress. The solution to that gap ultimately became the share cabinets, in Dutch Deelhuisjes.

They want to remove shame from poverty and hunger because it can happen to anyone. Now about 4% to 8% of people live in hunger and poverty. This is expected to rise to 20% in the coming years. In the beginning, houses were almost empty, but now users trust that something is there and will be replenished. Thanks to the efforts of countless volunteers, the houses continue to serve their purpose.

The sharing place is a continuation of the sharing houses. People can come there once a week to pick up a food parcel. The sharing site also runs on volunteers. The need is high. This is because a family or person may only use the food bank for a maximum of 3 years. A discovery that does not leave the three initiators untouched. They also want to share this idea further because anyone can adopt the idea, sharing is multiplying here.

That’s it for part 1. In part 2 you can read more about the current situation (februari 2023) and future dreams of the trio.