Not Looking Forward to Christmas
About 400 households in Reykjavík and vicinity received food donations yesterday and today from Iceland Family Aid – a non-profit organization that assists low-income individuals and families with food donations, clothing and other necessities. Ásgerður Jóna Flosadóttir, head of the organization, tells mbl.is that demand for donations exceeds supply.
“We’ve been giving out food this whole COVID-19 season,” she states. People apply for donations on the organization’s website, fjolskylduhjalp.is.
“Many more needed assistance, but all we can do is work according to the amount of funding available at Iceland Family Aid,” she explains. “Right now, we have three meals – sausages, pizza and trout. That’s what everyone receives today, in addition to many other things.”
In September, the organization donated food to 700 homes in the capital area and 888 homes in Reykjanesbær on the Reykjanes peninsula. Reykjanesbær is the municipality near Keflavík International Airport where unemployment rates have been the highest in the country, expected to reach almost 25 percent by Christmas.
“It’s painful having to close [for applications], but we were fully booked,” Ásgerður adds. “We will offer some emergency donations through the week, depending on our resources. It’s getting tougher and tougher, and, in fact, the need is there for us to distribute aid every day.”
She notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in demand for donations.
“Half [of the recipients] are immigrants,” she states. “Many of them have worked here and created value in society, while others have received a residence permit and are out of work. Ideally, we’d have to be able to assist 2,500-3,000 households a month. We’re worried about the Christmas season. We hope Smáralind and Kringlan shopping malls will continue to have Christmas trees [under which shoppers leave packages they donate].” Such help makes quite a difference for people to receive, she states.