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July 26 2013 | ROME, ITALY

Sant'Egidio: a summer of solidarity

There are many initiatives of Sant'Egidio to help those who are more fragile to face the inconveniences of heat

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On the eve of the second heat wave of this summer , which is expected to be particularly intense, the Press Conference "Heat waves, crisis and fragility - the initiatives of the Community of Sant'Egidio for thesummer of 2013" was held at Sant'Egidio. with the presence of the president of the Community Marco Impagliazzo and the persons of the Community in charge of the services for the elderly, the immigrants, the homeless and the prisoners, Daniela Pompei and Francesca Zuccari.

 Marco Impagliazzo underlined the harmony between the meeting with the press on this issue and the World Youth Day of Rio de Janeiro, where the Pope put at the centre solidarity and sharing what one has to help the weakest. A message that the Pope addressed to young people but which interrogates each of us to make a "Copernican revolution in the sense of not putting ourselves and our problems in the centre, but the poor". The President of the Community also launched an appeal to all Roman citizens to be vigilant and care about the elderly who live near them. In every condominium there areelderly persons living alone that you can visit and help,even in a simple way, to face the inconveniences of heat. There are many people living uncomfortably that you meet on the street and that you can help even with little means. It is an opportunity to meet them and make friends, which can change the face of the city, making it more humane and supportive.

Marco Impagliazzo appealed to young people too not to be afraid of meeting the elderly and, if they can, to go to the many old people’s homes present in every neighborhood, to visit the elderly who are often completely alone.
The crisis, Marco Impagliazzo said, does not decrease solidarity. On the contrary, the good news is that there aremany people who want to help those most in need.

This summer many young people, around 1.000, havecome to the Community of Sant'Egidio and asked to helpto serve the poor during the summer months. They came and will come to Rome to help from various parts of Italyand the world, especially from the regions of the north-east of Italy, France, Europe and even Canada.
Besides them, a few high school students and university students of the Community of Sant'Egidio, with theinitiative "Sant'Egidio on the road", will go to various locations of the Cilento and Calabria, including Rosarno and Lampedusa to promote solidarity and help the weakest in a concrete way.

There are also many young university students of the Community who are spending a period in Africa (Malawi and Mozambique) to give their help in the children’snutritional centres of the Community and in Albania.

The Community initiatives for the summer will reach Rome, "a people" of 25,000 persons made up largely of elderly people (16,000 in Rome and its province), and other people in situations of special fragility (immigrants, disabled people, homeless people, prisoners), those most at risk during the heat emergency.
For the elderly, perhaps the population segment most at risk during the heat emergency, as Daniela Pompeiremembered, in addition to the programme "Viva gli Anziani!", which constantly and actively monitors 4,273old people aged over 75 in Trastevere, Testaccio andEsquilino, and the elderly known and accompanied by the Community in all districts of the outskirts of Rome, 5,000 elderly people are visited in old age homes by theCommunity volunteers.

Visits and moments of celebration were organised forthese elderly people and 500 of them participated in the summer stays organised for the poorest.


As Francesca Zuccari noted, summer is also an emergencyfor those who live on the street, due to the closure of many services, and for those who live in prison: prison overcrowding becomes even more dramatic with heat.

To answer these questions, the Sant'Egidio Soup-kitchenin via Dandolo will be open throughout the summer as well as the showers service, thanks to the help of the many young volunteers who will come to Rome. Besides, they will intensify the street service with the itinerant dinnersthat touch twenty different points of the city and reach about 2,000 people.
For the prisoners, distributions of packages with clothing and personal hygiene accessories are started, especially for poor prisoners without family ties. These prison visits are also a meeting opportunity for so many people.
There will also be moments of celebration: the parties in the squares, the "cocomerate", Mid-August lunches and,for foreigners, the parties for the end of Ramadan that willbe held at the Soup-kitchen via Dandolo and also in Roman prisons. Marco Impagliazzo pointed out how theimmigrants who are involved in giving help in all these initiatives are an important support to the work of the Community.

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