Iceland Family Aid (IFA) was founded in 2003 by five women, Ásgerður Jóna Flosadóttir, Guðrún Magnúsdóttir, Anna Auðunsdóttir, Ragna Rósantsdóttir and Guðbjörg Pétursdóttir, with a combined experience of 80 years in volunteer work.
Initially, the organization was founded to distribute clothing to those in need in the community. Soon companies in the community started donating food. Businessman Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson made it possible for Family Aid to start operating by paying rent to Reykjavik City for the use of Eskihlíð 2-4 where the organization was housed until 2013.
Family Aid moved from Eskihlíð to Iðufell 14 in Reykjavik on June 5, 2013, which marked a turning point for the organization, as this brought much better facilities for clients as well as a better working conditions for our volunteers.
IFA assists women, men and children in need, regardless of their origin. The number of families enrolled is over 5,000, who need varying degrees of assistance. In 2006 IFA assisted over 15,000 people. During the 2012 to 2013 operating year, IFA provided in total over 30,000 food aids. Those seeking assistance from IFA are the disabled, unemployed, single mothers and fathers, senior citizens, low-income workers and single people.
For the first eight years the work was based solely on volunteer work. More people want to become volunteers than is needed – showing the spirit of people towards the organization’s work. Volunteers include the disabled, senior citizens, the unemployed, students as well as people who are well off in the community. The main focus is to assist poor people with food, medicine, haircuts, clothing, infant products and toys. The need for assistance has increased year by year. The month of Christmas always stands out when thousands of individuals each year receive help to celebrate the holiday.
IFA pays for the work of a treasurer, bookkeeper and accountant that are independent of the organization. This decision was made by the board of IFA in order to sever all relations between the board and the financial aspect of the organization.
With increased range in services and more people in need came increased workload, which led to the board deciding to pay the chairman of the board and acting CEO a salary for a full-time job, to ensure clients could be assisted as needed. This is the same evolution as observed in other Icelandic non-profit organizations.
IFA opened a branch for food aid on Hafnargata 29 in Reykjanesbær in 2010 and then opened a thrift store on Hafnargata 32. The aid operations were moved to Grófin 10c due to increased demand, where it stayed until November 15, 2013, when both aid operations and the thrift store were combined in it’s current location at Baldursgata 14.
Project manager for operations in Reykjanesbær is Anna Valdís Jónsdóttir, who works alongside a team of dedicated volunteers.
For an organizations such as IFA to work, support is needed from businesses, the community as well as government institutions. These parties carry the financial backing of the organization.
Icelandic Family Aid started production of outdoor candles in October 2013. The candles are made from rendered animal fat left over from food production and are sold for fundraising purposes in many supermarkets in Iceland.
IFA runs two thrift stores under the name Fataskápurinn that are open to the public. These stores sell used clothing as well as new clothing and other products. These markets are located in both bases of operations, in Iðufell 14, Reykjavik, as well as Baldursgata 14, Reykjanesbær.
IFA wishes to extend its sincerest thanks to all supporters and donors for all the support and warmth they have shown to those who are less fortunate in society.