Every Tuesday and Thursday students from John Cabot University volunteer with the Community Service Program at La Ronda della Solidarietà, an organization that provides food for homeless people at Piazza Mastai, in the heart of Trastevere.
“I always wanted to volunteer, so I immediately took the opportunity,” said Giovanna Pino, freshman degree-seeking student, “I think it is a good occasion to help people feeling better and less alone, but also for me to make new friends.”
La Ronda della Solidarietà was founded in June 2010 by actor Domenico Fumato (president of the association), inspired by the idea of artist Paolo Coccheri, who created a similar organization in 1993 in Florence. The organization gathers donated food from local Roman stores and provides it to those in need. The meetings in which the food is distributed are set not only in Piazza Mastai on Tuesdays and Thursdays for breakfast, but also at Piazza Venezia every Monday and Thursday for dinner.
The volunteers, who come from all over the world and range in age from 20 – 70, distribute the food, beverages and clothes donated. They also eventually get to know the homeless who usually show up every week.
“They have a very hard life on the streets,” said Carla Goracci, one of the volunteers. “The least we can do is to provide them a hot meal during the coldest months and refreshing food during summer.”
The homeless also enjoy talking about their lives. “I once used to live in Canada, had a house, a family, work…,” said Luciano, who shows up weekly for breakfast in Piazza Mastai. “Then I divorced from my wife and I lost everything.” He then decided to come back to his country of origin, Italy, because “being homeless in Canada means dealing with -20 degrees every day during wintertime.”
John Cabot University also helps La Ronda della Solidarietà by providing juice, apples, coffee and clothes donated by the community twice a week. The students who participate are a both degree seeking and study abroad students looking to give back and help those in need.
Cristina Di Leva
JCU Class of 2018
Hometown: Lavello, Italy