A 90-year-old man is on a mission to feed the 8,000 homeless people on Rome’s streets, earning him the nickname,’chef of the poor.’
Dino Impagliazzo, cooks 800-1,000 meals for the poor and homeless in Rome every week using leftover food from the city’s markets. Impagliazzo chops onions and makes a vegetable soup for his poor customers living outside the Vatican colonnades, in Rome, Italy.
Three days a week, he and other volunteers of the RomAmoR (RomeLove) association he founded visit the food markets and bakeries for contributions which help him feed the homeless. It started 15 years ago when a homeless man met him at a Rome train station and begged him for money to buy a sandwich. “I realized 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.
The RomAmoR volunteers cook food on the other four days of the week and serve it in various places in 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”.
On Saturday nights, they put up a portico outside St. Peter’s Square to feed the homeless in the area, where Pope Francis has also opened medical and bathing facilities for them.
Impagliazzo, is a former employee of Italy’s social security department, he launched his mission with a handful of fellow pensioners. Initially they used to make sandwiches but now they make hot meals, first at home and then in a convent using its fully equipped kitchen with the help of 300 young and old volunteers.
Impagliazzo received a honorific award from Italian President Sergio Mattarella recognizing him as a “hero of our times.” Dino Impagliazzo never thought in his wildest dreams that he could become so successful, or generate such good will. Recently on a Saturday night near the Vatican, four extra volunteers showed up. “I am happy because we never tell anyone ‘we don’t need you tonight’,” he said. “They stay among us.”
Vatican city, is considered to be one of the most holy cities in the world, and Dino Impagliazzo and his team are spreading God’s love to the homeless and poor people in this place by serving them hot meals day after day.
Is. 58:10. “And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
NOTE: This story was first posted on Feb 10, 2020 and updated on May 19, 2023
Dino Impagliazzo passed away at the age of 91, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and service that continues to inspire those in Rome and around the world.