ADRA Italia: Combating loneliness

ADRA Italia: Combating loneliness

‘Lunch Together’ is an opportunity to stick together and to make new friends.

April 21, 2016 | Bern, Switzerland. | ADRA Italia, A. Mazza, CD-EUDNEWS.

Wednesday, April 13, the ‘Lunch Together’ event has had among its guests some political figures, who enjoyed their lunch together with the elderly to pay tribute to this project: Stefano Bonaccini, Governor of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Paolo Lucchi, Mayor of Cesena, Lia Montalti, Regional Councillor, and Simona Benedetti, Municipal Councillor.

'Pranzassieme' (Lunch Together) is an opportunity for the elderly of Cesena to leave home and have good food with other people. A joyous response to cold winter days, it provides an excuse to meet other people. ‘Lunch together’ is a project inspired and run by ADRA Italy.

Local and provincial authorities have acknowledged the importance of the project by tributing a visit.

Since 2009, in Cesena, a group of ADRA volunteers ha been carrying out this project, which aims to have lunch, sit at the same table, listening, talking and joking with lonely elderly people who live in the neighborhood.

"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."

This project wants to meet the need of pensioners, often living alone, to leave their homes and find ways to laugh together with their neighbors, mostly nameless faces but with the same desires. ‘Lunch Together’ is an opportunity to stick together and to make new friends.

The meetings are held once a week, from November to April, at a facility belonging to the Adventist Church. Every week about 40 people take part in the lunch.

These meetings are open to all, especially to lonely people in need of social relationships. The project also aims to build a bridge between different generations and cultures.

This event is carried out thanks to the work of the volunteers of ADRA and is sponsored by the Directorate of Social Policies of the Municipality of Cesena along with local authorities.

After lunch, time is dedicated to conversations about major issues, presented by trained guests: health, taxes and other various issues. Special guests attend these debates, including assessors, accountants, doctors, and nurses. Each of these professionals treat a theme of common interest, conquering the attention of the entire audience.

Participants also have fun by playing together and every year a trip is organized: trip that cannot be missed.

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