Both volunteers at the charity Iceland’s Family Aid (FÍ) and the Mother Support Council who distribute food and clothing to those in need say more Icelandic residents have requested their help than ever before.
“We sense that more people are in need for help than before, especially among those where the [recent] cut [in social benefits] adds to their troubles,” Ásgerdur Jóna Flosadóttir, head of FÍ, told 24 Stundir. “Many have called who have never contacted us before.”
FÍ, which was founded in 2003, distributes food to about 130 families every week. As of December 12, the charity will begin distributing traditional Christmas food along with soda and candy.
The Mother Support Council, founded in 1928, starts its Christmas distribution December 18. Both charities are supported financially by different companies and individuals.
“It is incredible how generous people are at this time of year. But unfortunately we need to survive the other months too,” said Ragnhildur G. Gudmundsdóttir, head of the Mother Support Council. She expects to help at least 2,000 families this Christmas.
Minister of Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir visited FÍ yesterday. “It is very sad to see the poverty that’s facing us here. Too many people have to live below the defined poverty limits.”
Sigurdardóttir is founding a committee with the purpose of reviewing the situation of the poor and finding solutions of how to improve it.
“We have to have a campaign or a plan about how to do that. It is tragic to be looking at this situation. People should be able to live in our community with dignity,” the minister concluded.