“We might not change the world or solve the problem of poverty, but at least we’ll be able to bring a smile to someone’s face.”

April 23, 2019

“Tre P” is an activity born from Associazione Cattolica Ragazzi (ACR) that strives to help the homeless start their day in a better way. In fact, the initiative’s name is the answer to “Where can we find God today?” and the Ps stand for “Parola” (the Father’s word), “Pane” (symbolizing the Eucharist) and “Poveri” (poor people, and in this case the homeless).

The idea of this project came from ACR’s will of having more contact with needy people. However, as Mr. Ciotti, member of the Azione Cattolica organization in Milan, says, the project does not aim at creating a stable, long-term relationship between the volunteer and the homeless person because this would be extremely hard and requires a certain level of preparation. Rather, they want adolescents to have a better view of Milan’s community as a whole, and to know that there are things that can be done to improve today’s reality.

Volunteering with Tre P consists in meeting the night before with the other members to prepare some bags with sandwiches, then gathering at 5 a.m. the next day for a prayer and to distribute the meals. The distribution does not occur in a specific place, so the volunteers’ job is also to go around the city center to look for anyone they can help. As a volunteer states, sometimes these people have already left to start their day, sometimes they have not even woken up when they leave the food next to them, so you might not receive a direct response or a “thank you.” However, hoping that they will wake up with a smile on their face is what motivates her to continue her experience.

Giovanni Mangiatordi is also a volunteer in Tre P. He came to know about this project through ACR, which he joined when he started studying in Bocconi. The one with Tre P is his first experience as a volunteer, and it started in February. He states that these few months as a volunteer have helped him realize that there are many more homeless around the city than one would expect, since “some of them are stacked together in narrow streets.” Also, that some of these people might not seem pleased at first, but that it is probably a matter of pride.

When Giovanni joined the initiative, he was motivated by the “kindness and warmth” of everyone involved with it, and by the hope of alleviating the suffering of the homeless through the fulfillment of a primary need. What all the volunteers at Tre P have in common is the hope of making a change, even if small. This is something that Mr. Ciotti is extremely proud of because he sees that this group of young men and women have realized that “there is a treasure within each one of us, especially within those who we often ignore.”

 

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