This is the Tucum app. It allows users to donate money that the Caritas organization will then give to people in need in a somewhat unusual way: with a card.
“We don't propose traditional forms of aid like soup kitchens or food banks. They're great, but they have their limits and can be humiliating for people receiving the help. Instead, we give people this card so they can buy groceries at participating stores. It's like a debit card, but it doesn't use actual money.”
It doesn't use money in order to ensure beneficiaries are using the card to purchase only necessary items.
Giandonato describes himself as an “enterprising missionary.” He participated in the “Economy of Francesco” promoted by the pope in Assisi. It's spent years studying how to best help others, and this app is a concrete example of what it proposes: an economy based on fraternity.
The idea is that people will commit to concretely help their neighbors in need and not donate simply out of a sense of obligation.
“I'm an economist, and I deal with extreme poverty. I work with the poor and look for ways to accompany them on the path toward social advancement.
We propose living out charity in a different, more inclusive way. When I carry out an act of charity, I no longer have to be indifferent. I don't just donate a dollar and forget about the whole thing.”
Giandonato has compiled his ideas and reflections into two books. Pope Francis prepared a preface for the latest one, “Luce in abbondanza,” “Light in Abundance.”
The Tucum app is part of a bigger project spearheaded by Giandonato Salvia and his brother. It's a tech start-up with a social mission. It's called “Acutis,” in honor of the young Blessed who was passionate about technology. With this initiative they hope to launch other projects like Tucum and promote a more fraternal economy.