By Giulio Grecchi – Western Region Voice of the Poor Representative
The Expo is opening up a dialogue among the 145 participating countries on nutrition and the resources of our planet. It is an opportunity to reflect upon, and seek solutions to the contradictions in our world. On the one hand, there are the hungry (approximately 870 million people were undernourished in 2010-2012) and, on the other, there are those who die from ailments linked to too much food (approximately 2.8 million deaths from diseases related to obesity in the same period). In addition, about 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste every year. For these reasons, the Expo encourages conscious political choices to develop sustainable lifestyles and to use the best technology to create a balance between the availability and the consumption of resources.
The Expo is focusing on respect for the environment and for all the places where local communities live, based on a sustainable future for the planet and for the society as a whole.
With the theme of the Expo so close to the heart of the SSVP, the Italian National Council represented the Society with an informational stand, during the early part of June. The booth was located in a space (a former farm) specifically reserved for NGOs. The Italian SVdP National Council and the Lombardy SVdP
Regional Federation joined forces to display information on the Italian and international activities of the Society, through three touch screens slideshows.
See more news and updates on the Italian SSVP website: http://www.sanvincenzoitalia.it
It was amazing to realize how many of the activities that they do are so similar to what we do in the US, starting with home visits and direct assistance.
At the same time, we learned of new and innovative approaches, all based on Frederick’s motto that “No work of charity is foreign to the Society”. Some examples are:
- Family conferences, where parents and children do work of charity together
- A promotion of Family spirituality, through national meetings to reflect on family life and marriage spirituality, initiated following a recommendation by Pope Francis
- Youth summer camps
- Student housing
- Many forms of prison ministry, from spiritual and material assistance of those detained, to support of their families, to finding work for those detainees permitted to leave the prison during the day, to assistance for their reintegration in civil society after release
- Fund-raising through fashion shows of gently used clothing, with Vincentians ladies walking as models on the catwalk
- “Grazie Federico” (Thank you Frederick), an exhibit, travelling from city to city, on the life of our founder, on the history and work of the Society, on Vincentians spirituality, etc.