Free packages of food and basic goods for people hit by the recession following the pandemic
The medical crisis that’s enveloped Italy over the last few months is beginning to leave another crisis in its wake. A new poverty is becoming a daily reality for many people. Large families, old people living alone, poor young people and workers in the industries hardest hit by the crisis have found themselves struggling to feed themselves and their children day to day.
It was to help those people that we launched ‘Nessuno escluso. Neanche chi è ora in difficoltà’ (‘Nobody Left Behind: Supporting those in need through unprecedented times’). The project will deliver free packages of food and basic goods to people who need help at this difficult time and have nowhere else to go.
The project is currently running in Milan, Piacenza, Rome and Naples. The end goal is to reach households hit by the social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic.
A recent study shows that more than a million people can no longer afford food and basic goods. We’re facing an unprecedented social crisis, one that’s carved out a new class of vulnerable people, until now under the radar of traditional or state support. So, we decided to run a project outside of the medical sphere, to spread a message of solidarity and help people get by with dignity.Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY
Inside the packages
The people and families who take part in the programme are brought two kinds of package:
- hygiene (personal care and cleaning)
We have also put together special packages for coeliacs, lactose-intolerant people, vegetarians, babies (with baby food, powdered milk, nappies and wet wipes) and anyone else who may have special requirements.
In Milan our project has been running on an experimental basis since mid May 2020. We’ve delivered over 82,000 food and basic goods packages so far.
‘In phase 1, EMERGENCY had already organised a network for delivering basic goods to people in quarantine, ill and elderly people, and we picked out various families for whom the lockdown was not only a health risk but above all a threat to their economic survival. In Milan alone, thanks to help from Brigate Volontarie per l’Emergenza, 320 volunteers brought ready meals to some of the city’s most vulnerable people, did more than 5,000 shopping trips and gave out 100,000 masks from the municipal council.’ Marco, head of the Milan project
In addition to the ongoing support programme, since the end of October 2020 the project has expanded to support those who need temporary help, due to a quarantine condition, illness or the temporary loss of their job.
The project, carried out in collaboration with the Brigate Volontarie per l’Emergenza, covers the entire municipality of Milan and the extra-urban area of Martesana.
It is run with the contribution of the Municipality of Milan in Municipalities 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and contributes to developing the Dipositivo Aiuto Alimentare – Food Aid Device- promoted by the Municipality of Milan to tackle the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Rome, the project has been running since mid-June 2020 in five of its municipalities (I, V, VI, VII, VIII e X) and it reached 500 households. The goal is to spread our coverage to more municipalities and people over the next few weeks. We’ve delivered more than 30,442 food and basic goods packages so far.
‘We’re starting with a small core of families for whom the epidemic is not just a health risk but above all a threat to their economic survival, but we intend to spread our work all over the city and create a wider network of volunteers to work with.’
Pietro, head of EMERGENCY’s volunteer coordination department
The project is done in collaboration with a range of voluntary organisations in the area.
In Piacenza, EMERGENCY volunteers continue their commitment in favor of the most vulnerable local population begun during “Phase 1”.
“Already during the lockdown we realized that the situation was changing and that we would also be needed in the ‘Phase 2’ of the emergency.”
Anna, EMERGENCY volunteer in Piacenza
The “Nobody Left Behind” project in Piacenza is managed in collaboration with the local associations GASB (Gruppo Attivo di Solidarietà dal Basso) and GAP (Gruppo Acquisto Popolare).
At the beginning of October 2020, we started off in Naples with about 500 households in the neighbourhoods of Pianura, Soccavo, Miano, Montesanto, and Ponticelli where our clinic is located, with the intent to help up to 500 families.
‘People who were working in pizzerias or restaurants, perhaps cash-in-hand, have seen their livelihoods go up in smoke. Sadly there are a lot of families where both parents have lost all their sources of income and are finding themselves struggling to make ends meet.’
Peppino Fiordelisi, coordinator of EMERGENCY’s volunteers in Campania
‘Nobody left behind’ has come to Naples, thanks to help from the Spesa Sospesa project, the city council and the associations Lab00 and Comitato Popolare per la rinascita di Soccavo.
In December 2020, the project was extended to Catanzaro, in Calabria, Southern Italy. This was made possible through the contribution of the Municipality of Catanzaro, the Centro Calabrese di Solidarietà association, and thanks to the collaboration of the associations Un raggio di sole, Solid’ali, Associazione San Vincenzo, Nati per amare, Emmaus, and Stella Popolare.
Since the beginning of May 2021, “Nessuno Escluso” is also active in Catania. The activities are carried out in collaboration with Centro Astalli, the Baptist and Waldensian Churches, Casa del popolo Colapesce and Casa della Solidarietà – Parrocchia SS Pietro e Paolo.
At the moment, about 40 volunteers guarantee the distribution of 80 parcels every week.
“In Catania, the consequences of COVID-19 amplify the problems of a social fabric where work, even if continuous, is often precarious and without protection for a large part of the population. That’s why we are proud to have taken the initiative to launch “Nobody Left Behind” in our city too, and to have done our bit.
Agata, EMERGENCY volunteer in Catania
From mid-May 2021, “Nessuno Escluso” is also active in Varese.
The project, activated in collaboration with the Municipality of Varese, the Ubuntu movement and the non-profit organisation Sanità di Frontiera, will initially cover the city, guaranteeing the weekly distribution of food and hygiene packages to about 55 households. In case of demand, the service can be extended to neighbouring municipalities.
All deliveries are made by volunteers from EMERGENCY and organisations it works with. They go about in pairs and wear a badge identifying them. All of them have been given specific training to minimise the risk of them spreading the disease to each other and the people they’re helping.
For more information on our service in Milan, or to tell us about people in need of help, you can call us on the dedicated number +39 02 86316890.
In Rome, you can tell the councils of the municipalities where we’re running the service (1, 5, 6, 7, and 10) about anyone in need of help.
For more information on the service in Piacenza, the dedicated number is +39 347 2221241, which you can contact via call or message.
In Naples, to report people who need help you can contact directly the Municipality’s social services.
To report people who need help in Catanzaro city, you can contact the Department of Social Policies of Catanzaro and the associations that collaborate around the area.
Support our work
We know how important it is that no one’s left behind, especially at a time of crisis. We want to do all we can to help people get through this, but to do that we need your help.