Adventist humanitarians in Northern Italy combat loneliness through a lunch program

Senior residents sharing a meal at “Lunch Together.” [Photo courtesy of the Inter-European Division]

“Pranzassieme” or “Lunch Together” provides an opportunity for elderly community members in Cesena to draw closer to each other.

April 26, 2016

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ADRA Italia, A. Mazza/CD-EUDNEWS, ANN Staff

On April 13, a unique outreach project for the elderly organized by Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Italy drew the attention of political figures from the city of Cesena.

The local officials, including Stefano Bonaccini, governor of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Paolo Lucchi, mayor of Cesena, Lia Montalti, regional councilor, and Simona Benedetti, municipal councilor, participated in “Pranzassieme” or “Lunch Together,” which reaches older residents in the city who are lonely and in need of social relationships.

“Lunch Together” creates an opportunity for the elderly of Cesena to leave their homes and have good food and fellowship with other community members. Another goal of the project is to build bridges between different generations and cultures.

The project is operated by ADRA volunteers and is sponsored by the Directorate of Social Policies of the Municipality of Cesena along with local authorities.

Since 2009, the meetings have been held once a week, from November to April, in a facility that belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the region.

“Our guests have an age range from 70 to 90 years approximately,” explains Elvira, one of the organizers. “Every Wednesday, from November to April, the ‘Lunch Together’ [restaurant] opens its doors and, thanks to a dozen volunteers, rooms are filled with 50-80 people, who gather to share a hearty meal and to enjoy a pleasant time together.”

After the meal, attendees are able to hear presentations from local accountants, doctors and nurses on various topics, including health and taxes.

Leaders of “Lunch Together” also organize annual trips for the local residents.

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