Vatican City, Feb 22 (EFE).- A volunteer-led food truck that offers free meals to homeless people who live around St Peter’s Square has arrived in the Vatican.
The initiative, run by the non-profit Progetto Arca foundation which has already rolled out the community kitchen across several other Italian cities, arrived in Rome on February 17 and will be offering 450 warm meals a day to the capital’s homeless.
Two stations have been set up, one in the Vatican and another in the Cassia neighborhood.
As the sun sets over St Peter’s, the homeless people who disappear every morning as the tourists arrive, return to the square to collect a portion of hot and comforting food.
On Monday night some 50 people flocked to the truck to collect a plate of hot pasta, vegetable soup and a slice of chocolate cake.
Tuesday’s breakfast menu included biscuits, jam and juice.
All meals are prepared on the spot in the truck’s kitchen and are served in individual portions that can be taken away.
Homeless people sleeping in the area are also given a care package containing a hat, gloves, a thermal t-shirt, soap and wet wipes.
The Progetto Arca initiative launched in 2021 at the height of pandemic restrictions which forced the closure of many soup kitchens.
The mobile food trucks were used as a way to continue offering warm meals to those in need while sticking to the social distancing measures imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“From one day to the next, people on the street found themselves alone, without the familiar support they needed to survive. For the first time we met homeless people who had not eaten for days,” Alberto Sinigallia, president of Progetto Arca, said at the project’s launch in Rome.
“So instead of locking ourselves in our houses, we decided to come up with something to help them. We put wheels on the kitchen: the homeless couldn’t go to a soup kitchen, so we went to them,” Sinigallia added.
But as the non-profit says, it is never just a meal.
The food trucks offer volunteers a chance to build trust with the homeless so they can help guide them to other services they may require. EFE