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Meet Rome’s 90-year-old “chef of the poor”

Dino Impagliazzo

Dino Impagliazzo/Facebook | RomAmoR/Facebook | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/17/20

Dino Impagliazzo's mission in his senior years is to feed Rome's homeless.

Although Dino Impagliazzo may have retired a few decades ago, the active nonagenarian is still determined to roll up his sleeves and serve his community.

The 90-year-old first started feeding Rome’s hungry after a chance encounter with a homeless man who asked him for money to buy a sandwich 15 years ago. Impagliazzo thought to himself that instead of giving money, he could actually make sandwiches for the man and any of his companions.

From this idea, the former social security worker, along with some fellow pensioners, founded RomAmoR (RomeLove), an association that made sandwiches in their homes and gave them out to those in need. Thanks to contributions from local retailers, their operation grew, first making hot meals in a convent to then having their very own fully-equipped kitchen.

With the association’s 300 volunteers, Impaglizzo serves the poor in districts all over Rome. “We try to involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other, you know? It’s solidarity,” he shares with Reuters.

On Saturdays, the group goes to St. Peter’s Square, where alongside medical and bathing amenities set up by Pope Francis, the group offers a warm meal under a portico just outside the famous square.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella gave the devoted charity worker an honorific award, describing him as a “hero of our times.”


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