Dino Impagliazzo greets a 'RomAmor' volunteer as they prepare sandwiches for the homeless living in Rome and outside the Vatican colonnades. Reuters
Dino Impagliazzo dices onions like a master chef and makes a mean vegetable soup, but most of his loyal "customers" can't afford to buy even a bread stick.
90-year-old Impagaliazzo is best known as the “chef of the poor” in Rome
Impagaliazzo, RomAmor (RomeLove) association founder and other volunteers, make round trips to the food markets and bakeries thrice a week. These trips serves as avenue for them to collect contributions from retailers who help in living the dream of feeding the homeless.
Dino Impagliazzo is greeted in a bakery as he collects leftover bread. Reuters
15 years ago, a homeless man approached the “chef of the poor” at a train station and asked for money to buy a sandwich that was when the idea was conceived.
"I realised that perhaps instead of buying one sandwich, making some sandwiches for him and for the friends who were there would be better, and thus began our adventure," he said.
Currently, RomAmor volunteers serves food four days a week around the city, mostly near train stations.
"We try to involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other, you know?" he said while preparing soup in a professional kitchen. "It's solidarity."
Dino Impagliazzo carries a crate of leftover fruits and vegetables as he walks through a market in Rome. Reuters
On Saturday nights, they set up under a portico outside St. Peter's Square to feed the growing number of homeless who sleep in the area, where Pope Francis has also opened medical and bathing facilities for them.
Impagliazzo, a former Italy social security department employee, launched his initiative of feeding the needy alongside fellow pensioners.
Dino Impagliazzo stirs a saucepan of soup, which he cooks for the homeless living in Rome. Reuters
From making sandwiches, they grew to cooking hot meals. They started at home, moved to a convent and currently the 300 volunteers operate from a fully owned equipped kitchen.
Impagliazzo, has received a honourific award from Italian President Sergio Mattarella recognising him as a "hero of our times," Upon starting the initiative he never dreamed it would become so successful, or generate such good will.
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