- Title: After Vatican controversy, McDonald's feeds homeless in Rome
- Date: 16th January 2017
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (JANUARY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) RIVER TIBER WITH ST. PETER'S CUPOLA IN BACKGROUND CUPOLA OF ST. PETER'S BASILICA EXTERIOR OF MCDONALD'S NEXT TO THE VATICAN MCDONALD'S SIGN CUSTOMER NEXT TO BURGER SIGN INSIDE MCDONALD'S MAN CARRYING BOX HOLDING CHEESEBURGERS AND PLACING IN VAN MEDIA FILMING BOX CHEESEBURGERS IN BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) CHARITY REPRESENTATIVE FOTINI IORDANOGLOU SAYING: "Instead of polemics they should do something concrete. McDonald's gave a positive answer and offered this possibility to help and in our small way we will try to do it. It is not a lot, we will not resolve hunger that is for sure, but we will try and give a small meal to those who need it." EXTERIOR OF MCDONALD'S WITH VATICAN GATE IN BACKGROUND SWISS GUARD DIRECTING TRAFFIC IN VATICAN (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POLITICIAN ALFREDO IORIO SAYING: "We will wage a war that has never been seen before. The Pope speaks about capitalism, gives all these lovely speeches, and then lets McDonald's open in his buildings for 26,000 euro a month, it's a disgrace. Ask the local businesses." WOMAN OPENING BOX OF FOOD ITEMS IN WALK-IN CLINIC CHEESEBURGERS VARIOUS HOMELESS PEOPLE ARRIVING TO RECEIVE FOOD PARCEL QUEUE OF HOMELESS PEOPLE HOMELESS MAN HIDING FACE WITH HAT VOLUNTEER HANDING OUT FOOD VARIOUS HOMELESS PEOPLE EATING BURGERS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) HOMELESS MAN PIERFRANCESCO SPIGA SAYING: "It would be good if these multi-national companies gave poor people food at the end of the day, instead of throwing it away." HOMELESS MAN EATING BURGER VARIOUS HOMELESS PEOPLE OUTSIDE WALK-IN CLINIC
- Embargoed: 30th January 2017 13:35
- Keywords: Vatican Mcdonald's burgers homeless free
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- City: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZBYIBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Fast food giant McDonald's on Monday (January 16) began handing out free meals to the homeless in Rome, in an initiative aimed at quelling some negative reaction it received on opening their new branch next to the Vatican.
Some cardinals disapproved of the Vatican's decision to let a building on the cobble-stoned Borgo Pio to the U.S. chain, saying the space would be better used to shelter the needy.
The management for the new restaurant which opened on Dec. 30, has since decided to donate dozens of meals to a charity. The donated double cheeseburgers were taken by van from McDonald's to a walk-in clinic in the Trastevere area of Rome, where they were distributed.
A representative for the charity Medicina Solidale explained they had written to McDonald's saying it would be good if the company could do something positive in order to put a halt to the negative reception of their new branch.
"McDonald's gave a positive answer and offered this possibility to help and in our small way we will try to do it," explained charity representative Fotini Iordganoglou.
"It is not a lot, we will not resolve hunger that is for sure, but we will try and give a small meal to those who need it," she said.
But anger over the Vatican renting a building to McDonald's is still rife in the area.
"We will wage a war that has never been seen before," shouted politician Alfredo Iorio as he passed by McDonald's.
"The Pope speaks about capitalism, gives all these lovely speeches, and then lets McDonald's open in his buildings for 26,000 euro a month, it's a disgrace," he shouted.
The monthly rental paid by McDonald's to the Vatican has not been officially disclosed.
At the clinic, homeless and needy people queued up to claim their burger which was supplemented with some chopped apple and a bottle of water.
Pierfrancesco Spiga, 46, a Rome native who lost his job as a gardener and now sleeps in a residence run by a cooperative, said the initiative should be extended.
"It would be good if these multi-national companies gave poor people food at the end of the day, instead of throwing it away," Spiga said.
The U.S. fast food chain, which did not comment on the initiative, has pledged 1,000 meals which will be distributed by the Medicina Solidale charity over the next six months.
Fifty lunches were served on Monday. A spokesman for the non-profit group said they hope to offer 100 once a week, and will look into whether the project can be made permanent.
Pope Francis has made defence of the poor and needy a cornerstone of his papacy, setting up shower stalls for the homeless near the Vatican, offering meals and even a VIP-style visit to the Sistine Chapel.
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