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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

McDonald’s near Vatican to give free meals to the poor

While the controversial opening of a McDonald’s near the Vatican may not have all local residents singing, ‘I’m lovin’ it’, the popular fast food chain is trying to do its part in the neighbourhood by helping the poor and the hungry.

‘Medicina Solidale’ (‘Solidarity Medicine’) announced on 12th January that it is joining forces with McDonald’s and the papal almoner’s office, which gives the pope’s charitable aid to the homeless around the Vatican, to distribute 1,000 meals to poor men and women who often find shelter in and around St Peter’s Basilica.

Starting on 16th January, volunteers from the charitable organisation will distribute a specially prepared menu for the poor; it includes a double cheeseburger, fresh apple slices and a bottle of water.

Lucia Ercoli, director of ‘Medicina Solidale’, said that the organisation plans to distribute 100 meals a week for 10 consecutive Mondays. The program, she added, is “the beginning of a dialogue” with McDonald’s to expand in the future.

“It is truly a small drop in an ocean of things being done by so many other associations, by so many people who spend their time helping others,” Ercoli said on 12th January in an interview with Vatican Radio.

Picture: A sign points the way to the newly opened McDonald’s near the Vatican. The McDonald’s will collaborate with Italian aid organisation, ‘Medicinia Solidale’, and the papal almoner’s office to help feed the poor and homeless around the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).