With the homeless people of Santa Maria Novella
For about a year, every first Friday of the month, the young people of the Focolare Movement of Florence have been meeting to prepare a simple meal and hot drinks for the homeless people of the Santa Maria Novella railway station.
«It was not easy to give 100% of ourselves straight away: we had our fears and doubts, but the fact of being together, united, helped us to overcome every obstacle and love our neighbor who, in this case, were the homeless people of the railway station», says Ilaria, one of them.
In this adventure, they are supported and accompanied by a group of adults, and Raffaella is one of them: «For about a year together with Anna, a dear friend, we have been helping these young people to prepare a hot meal for the homeless people of the railway station. It is not hard for us, because we are used to cooking for our big families, but we do it with a lot of love, because we perceive their support too».
Every Friday, the action of this group of young people and adults begins with the collection of a “share” for shopping. Then, around a table, together, they arrange the portions of the meals, the cutlery, and they prepare the drinks. The specific characteristic that distinguishes them is that they try to do so by living the reciprocity of evangelical love: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
«When we arrive at the station, that’s when we get involved, pouring on those homeless people that love that we “uploaded” a few minutes before, by talking to them, listening to them, welcoming them…» says Vincenzo, a member of the group.
For Lucia, another very young volunteer, it was not easy to overcome the first impact: «Sometimes, we think that Jesus manifests itself in a beautiful and fragrant way, but it is not at all like that, because this time he presented himself dirty, badly smelling, and lonely. For this reason, it was not spontaneous to approach them… There were those who needed, first and foremost, someone who warmed their hearts, who listened to their story of suffering: the death of a mother, the separation with one’s wife, being far away from one’s children, the loss of hope… Many of them believe that nobody cares about their existence. We tried to do just one thing: they may feel abandoned by everyone, but we do care about their lives».
Would you like to take part in this initiative?
Ilaria Lombardo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincenzo Cipri’: email@example.com