By Giancarlo La Vella
“Solidarity spent well” is the slogan of the “Don Felice Canelli” Emporio della Solidarietà Catholic charity promoted by the diocesan Caritas of San Severo, a larger town in the Foggia area, which opened Saturday. All families in difficulty due to the pandemic are able to receive needed assistance. Present at the inauguration was Bishop Giovanni Checchinato of San Severo, Msgr. Francesco Soddu, director of Caritas Italiana, Fr. Andrea Pupilla, director of Caritas of San Severo; the mayor, Francesco Miglio, and Simona Venditti, municipal councillor for Social Policies. Cardinal Konrad Krajiewski, papal almoner, surprised the group with his personal visit to share the Pope’s good wishes and support for the initiative to the joy of all those present.
The Church of San Severo is also celebrating one of its own priests, an apostle and friend of the poor, don Felice Canelli, who was recently declared venerable by the Holy See. In the current difficult context marked by the pandemic, the Emporium aims to be a place that can listen, care, assist and accompany families suffering economic and social hardship. The initiative came about thanks to the contribution of Caritas Italiana from donations offered by Italians through their annual tax returns.
This is a new way to provide a concrete and immediate response to the basic needs of families with little or no adequate income by offering a variety of basic necessities, made available by donations or purchases, that beneficiaries can choose according to their needs. It is also possible to shop for free through a temporary points card enabled by the diocesan Caritas Listening Center after a needs-based evaluation for access to this service. Beneficiaries will also be offered services and support, and possibilities for training. Also, efforts aimed at recovery and redistribution of surplus food will be promoted with an integral approach thanks to the network of companies and businesses in the area who have agreed to support this initiative.
The Emporium will be a place of encounter, discussion and reflection between Caritas, parishes, municipal social services, associations, third sector and the volunteering in order to build a support network for citizens in need, to restore their dignity and, finally, to promote the fight against food waste. The opening of the Emporium is part follows a series of activities institutions and associations have been putting in place over the years through a special project for the city.