Charities in the capital region are hoping to eliminate queues of people waiting for food donations with measures such as dividing the group, for example by postal codes.
More than 1,000 families in Iceland cannot afford the basic necessities and accept food donations from charities. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
Vilborg Oddsdóttir at Icelandic Church Aid told Morgunbladid that some of those queuing for food go to more than one place and by dividing the group, charities can pay closer attention to those who really need food donations.
Spokespersons for the charities Fjölskylduhjálp and Maedrastyrksnefnd support the idea and agree that it would be positive for charities to cooperate on food donations.
Minister of Welfare Gudbjartur Hannesson agrees that queues for food should be eliminated and believes they can be if it is ensured that this group of people can survive off mean minimum wage.
“No one should go hungry in this community and no one should have to queue [for food] because the minimum wage doesn’t suffice. However, such a situation can come up temporarily among individuals and families and in such cases charities are very important,” the minister said.
“However, they define themselves as emergency associations and we have to help them serve that role. They shouldn’t be part of people’s subsistence,” Hannesson added.
He has therefore, among other actions, requested that local authorities raise their monthly financial support so that it is comparable to unemployment benefits. The minister is also hoping that new calculations on the basic level of subsistence will help.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Welfare in late November, people require food donations for reasons such as low income, unemployment, debt situation or illness. The conclusions of the survey were published yesterday.
Approximately 40 percent of respondents said they earn less than ISK 150,000 (USD 1,300, EUR 974) per month before taxes, 30 percent ISK 150,000-190,000 and 25 percent ISK 200,000 (USD 1,700, EUR 1,300) or more.
Almost 50 percent of respondents accepting food donations had not completed their primary studies, 44 percent had competed secondary school and nine percent had a university degree. Around 30 percent were foreign citizens, most of whom were Polish.
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