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Rome Reports

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What happens with the money thrown in the Trevi Fountain?


Everyday, thousands of people throw their coins in the Trevi Fountain and make a wish. However, what they don't know is that their money is actually used to provide the basic necessities to people in need. 

This is "Citadella di Santa Giacinta,” a small city belonging to Cáritas a few miles from Rome's city center. It functions due in part a percentage of the money raised from Rome's famous fountain. 

This little “city” includes a nursing home, a communal dining room, a dentist and a supermarket called Emporio Cáritas, where poor people and families are able to get food. 

PAOLO GALLI
Emporio Cáritas

"Family care centers give two types of cards: one is for the family, where the criteria is based on the number of components and income. Another is for babies from zero to two years of age, who usually have 45 points for products.”

The cards last for six months, and are based on a “point” system. Depending on the number of family members and income, they can receive 100 to 250 points per month, where each point is equal to one euro.

Thirty-five percent of the products of this supermarket come from the Fund For European Aid to the Most Deprived, FEAD. The rest are donations from private companies, or were in a smiliar situation themselves. 

PAOLO GALLI
Emporio Caritas

"There are testimonies of some people who, after going through their dark moments, have come here to donate. They buy things and donate them because they say, 'You helped me when I needed it, and now that I do not need it, I will help you.' It's a very touching situation."

These people had a normal life until losing their job, or an unexpected situation that left them unable to support their family or make ends meet. The most special part of this project is how it is able to be sustained.

PAOLO GALLI
Emporio Caritas

"This is the miracle here: the miracle is that everything you see comes from donations. There are three workers here and the rest are volunteers. I myself am one, I am not a Caritas worker. I worked for many years, I have since retired, and now I help here."

It is true that sometimes those who have the least give the most. People like Paolo, who dedicate their time and effort to help those who need it, are a shining example of it.