On Saturday 25 November millions of Italians accepted the call to charity and solidarity made by the volunteers of Banco Alimentare in almost 13,000 supermarkets throughout Italy. The 21st edition of this event involved the participation of over 145,000 volunteers all over our country.
In one day citizens donated 8,200 tons of food, with a reduction of 3.5% in 2016. Starting in December, this foods is going to be redisitributed to over 8,000 charitable organizations.
“The result is slightly lower than in 2016 – Andrea Giussani, President at Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus says – due to the persistence of the economic crisis that still makes cautious the spending behavior of citizens. In addition citizens are often involved in many other initiatives of solidarity”.
Our invitation to donate – Giussani continues – has has always been guided by the awareness that we all are in need. In the case of severely deprived people, the first need is a food and material assistance. In our trobled times the experience of the National Food Collection Day has made evident that the distance between “people who donates” and “people who receives” has decreased, sometimes mixing social and human roles and sensibilities. This year we met people who replied to our volunteers: “I cannot cannot afford to donate anything, I do not have enough for myself!”, and then donated a canned thuna or baby food saying: “Today I can help others”.
And some people, who receive a food package throughout the year thanks to the activity of Banco Alimentare and its affiliated charitable organizations, decided to get involved as volunteers spending a few hours in a supermarket. Many prisoners took part in the Food Collection in 28 prisons, obtaining relevant quantities of food. The teams of volunteers, outside the supermarkets, were made up of people belonging to different social status, faith and ethnicity.
On Saturday 25 November everyone lived the concrete invitation made by Pope Francis on the occasion of the First World Day of the Poor, when he recalled that we should not “love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth”.
The decreased result together with the beauty of the experience and the awareness that the need is still increasing aroung us should invite us to strongly commit for the next 22nd edition in 2018. Now it encourages Banco Alimentare and all its partners to achieve greater results in the daily activity: the recovery and redistribution of surplus food for the benefit of about 1,6 million needy people.
Once again the National Food Collection Day was an encouraging and popular response of those who silently work against poverty throughout the year, facing a serious challenge about human dignity and severe material deprivation.
We want to thank every person that we had the chance to meet, even if for a short moment – Andrea Giussani concludes –, all our 145,000 volunteers who spent a few hours with joy and enthusiasm for the success of a wonderful gesture, and finally the companies, institutions and bodies that helped us.
We invite everyone to keep alive the spark of this day looking for opportunities to share charity in daily life and staying close to the work of Banco Alimentare in the coming months, through information, collaboration and financial support.