ITALY: "Mensa dei Poveri" initiative

ICRELocal volunteering initiative, organised by the partner in Italy – ICRE (Istituto Culturale per le Relazioni Euromediterranee)

ICRE strongly wanted to experience "Mensa dei Poveri" and on the February 7, 2016 implemented the initiative "Mensa dei Poveri" offering them the lunch and serving. The event was held in Vibo Valentia in the parish of the “Sacra Famiglia”.

The ICRE’s experience “Mensa dei Poveri” was very strong and significant. It has enabled us to live the meaning of gratuity culture (which is the basis of volunteering): you realize with more force of a reality that you have by side but you don’t see "the Reality of the Unseen." You can learn the respect and knowledge of the other people. This experience gives you a lot of humanity and enriches you. It’s an experience that at least once in life you have to do.

The implemented actions and the methods used for this initiative:

For the success of this event, we think that it was very important to have various meetings with the volunteers of the “Sacra Famiglia”, who every Sunday do this service with a great spirit of solidarity. We established, during the meetings, all the organization: supply, kitchen activity, reception, meal distribution and division of tasks. Each of us, who attended the day, brought in the initiative the own personality with strengths and weaknesses. None of ICRE members never had this experience, but everyone put a lot of goodwill to ensure that the day succeeds. Besides contributing economically, it was important the human contact between ICRE’s members and the needy people. Every Sunday the Mensa dei Poveri is a refreshment stand and a place of family meeting for so many needy people. 50 hot meals are distributed through the generosity of many benefactors and the work of volunteers.

Achieved objectives and results:

The first goal, which ICRE wanted to reach, was the involvement of young people, who have wanted to do this experience and were deeply affected by this reality, and still thank you for having lived this unforgettable moments. In front of so much poverty it is born a spontaneous desire to help everyone and in every way. What we've done is minimal, almost insignificant, but for one day we had given and they gave us a smile. We are convinced that if you want to affect society positively, you must start from these small gestures.

Another important objective is the involvement of citizens and the market of our country (Spilinga) who wanted to donate, then, the food and even today they are continuing to do so. ICRE is convinced that the numerous needs of society today are an appropriate response thanks to the Civil and Volunteering.

Impact and possible future development of sustainable cooperation networks:

The impact that this initiative had on the people was very positive. In fact, this initiative has created a small network of solidarity. It has also helped to expand the activities, increasing the participations and making touch with a reality still known by few. ICRE has wanted to give a small contribution with the cooperation of all the forces both political and voluntary, for an improvement of this reality.

The initiative “Mensa dei Poveri”, that ICRE have done, is continuing. In fact all members are trying to create solidarity networks, who in schools and those in other jobs, to help the volunteers of the Sacred Family. We are trying to involve all citizens, various grocery, restaurants, bars to create a food chain.

Innovative aspects of the initiative:

The experience of the "Mensa dei Poveri" is innovative for our territory, since only a few years ago was formed thanks to the work of the Sacra Famiglia’s volunteers. We believe it is possible to improve this service through involvement of all the associations and public bodies.

Dissemination of the activity:

All participants, both those who were physically present at the day "Mensa dei Poveri", and those that were added later have been involved through: Social Network, e-mail, facebook, articles on local newspapers.

The results achieved in raising awareness of the activity among the general public were the increasing of the participations on the activity and the involving of various shops. Their dissemination has been ensured by e-mail, facebook and word of mouth.

More: https://www.facebook.com/icreu?fref=ts 

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