Coronavirus quarantine: How Catholics in Italy are helping the poor

By Hannah Brockhaus on CNA

In Rome, the Catholic lay community of Sant’Egidio has volunteers continuing to bring food to people living on the streets. Volunteers are also handing out products such as facial tissues and hand sanitizer to the poor.The community’s soup kitchens also remain open with extra precautionary measures, such as limiting the number of people who can enter at one time, ensuring hygiene and physical distance between people.

Sant’Egidio encouraged people to do their part to combat isolation by reaching out with phone and video calls, letters, and messages to the elderly and disabled, especially those in institutions where they cannot be visited because of the risk of contagion.
In an interview with Vatican Media, the president of Sant’Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, said it is important to remember the most vulnerable -- such as the homeless, the elderly, and hospice patients -- during this time.

“You have to find new ways to stay close to these people, naturally avoiding being infected and infecting, it is something that requires a lot of intelligence, a lot of creativity, and a lot of passion and love,” he said.
Impagliazzo noted that homeless men and women are at an even greater risk during the coronavirus outbreak, since there are fewer people giving out food or necessities.

He urged a “moral reaction” to the current crisis. “Just as Christians pray and live, and prayer gives strength to Christians in this moment, today we need strong citizens,” he said, “citizens aware of the risk being experienced, but who respond to this risk not with fear, but with a reaction of solidarity, of attention to the common good and the good of the poorest and weakest.