By Vatican News Staff reporter
Pope Francis welcomed over 1,300 people assisted by Caritas Rome and the St. Egidio Community for a special lunch on Sunday’s annual World Day of the Poor.
The annual lunch took place thanks to the organization provided by the Section for Fundamental Questions of Evangelization in the World, part of the Dicastery for Evangelization. Italy’s d’Amico Società di Navigazione company sponsored the meal.
According to the local Catholic charity of Italy, Caritas Italiana, those living in poverty number 5.6 million in Italy,
1.4 million, of whom are children.
Other initiatives at the Vatican coinciding with the World Day of the Poor included health services offered throughout the week in St. Peter’s Square for the disadvantaged.
Those struggling with poverty often have difficulty or the impossibility of accessing medical care. The mobile clinic facilities in St. Peter’s Square are providing medical checkups and medicines, including screening and treatments for HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis.
The services have returned to the square after a two year halt due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project is realised thanks to the help of Cuamm doctors, the PTV Policlinico Tor Vergata Foundation, the Red Cross Volunteer Nurse Corps, the Red Cross, the BIOS Group, the Misericordia association, SIMIT (Italian Society of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Diseases) and the SIMG (Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care), with the medical team of Prof. Loris Pagano and Prof. Giulio Nati. Clinical tests are provided by the GILEAD company.
Helping the needy
Food parcels for 5,000 families are also being distributed via the network of parishes in Rome.
Parish priests requesting this help are receiving the assortment of food items to serve the families in their areas needing this help.
Italy’s Elite Supermarket chain donated the products totaling some 10 tons of pasta, 5 tons of rice, flour, sugar, salt and coffee, and five thousand liters of oil and milk. Each parcel brings together an assortment of food basics for households.
The food storage, warehousing, and logistical support are provided by the Fiera di Roma company. DRIVALIA of the FCA bank Group provided vans for the delivery of the food parcels.
Finally, outreach to assist families struggling with high energy bills due worsened by rapid inflation in recent months is also being provided. Payments of gas and electric bills are being offered thanks to the generosity of Italy’s insurance group, UnipolSai Assicurazioni.