Mensa del Povero (Soup Kitchen for the Poor)
via Primo Tatti, 7
The “Mensa del povero” (Soup kitchen for the poor) was inaugurated in 1927 in a building bought two years earlier by the “Società Anonima per Azioni Cucine Economiche Popolari” (Anonymous Company Low-cost Soup Kitchen) becoming the seat of the pious activities carried out by the Ladies of Charity and by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.
At the beginning of the 20th century the nuns’ and volunteers’ main activities, called “Soup charity for the poor” consisted in distributing free soup to needy families in winter, and in the “home visiting” of the sick; to this first activity the “Patronato operaio femminile” (Charitable Institution for Feminine Working Class) was soon added. It started up for young women who moved to the city to work or study and moreover, a “Kindergarten” and a Nursery School called “Culle Vincenziane” for poor families’ children were even built up. In the 1930-40’s other kitchens were opened in the suburbs (Borgovico, Ponte Chiasso, Camerlata, Monte Olimpino, Tavernola and Brunate), around the lake (Bellagio, Lenno, Blevio, Moltrasio and Cernobbio) and in the district of Como (Olgiate Comasco and Caccivio). Today the “Mensa quotidiana delle persone in difficoltà” (Soup kitchen for the poor) is managed by the Sisters of Charity with the help of volunteers of “Casa Vincenziana onlus”; in addition to the kitchen soup, nuns and volunteers look after the monthly distribution of foodstuffs to needy families. Moreover in the “Casa Vincenziana” (Vincentian House) you can find a community residence for children and a shelter for troubled women.
What documents tell us…
From the Service Charter
The services offered by the daily soup kitchen for the needy are based on the following principles:
Equality: all services are offered with full respect of equality of people’s rights regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, language and political ideas.
Impartiality and continuity: regulated on dispassion and neutrality, the service assures access without prejudice or discrimination, it guarantees continuity and regularity of performances and reduces possible inconvenience towards all those people who make use of it.
Participation: a complete and clear information is given to users so that they can make use of the services, express suggestions and advice aimed to improve the service and to pursue charity activities.
Efficiency and effectiveness: the soup kitchen service organization aims to develop an appropriate and efficient coordination of the volunteers’ task in order to improve quality so that help can be spread to a larger number of destitute people.
Open from 11:00am, Monday to Saturday. On Sunday and holidays meals are provided by Vincentians at the Mission in via Lambertenghi 2; in August food is provided by volunteers of “Gruppi vincenziani”.
Serves annually 120 meals (2014).
Main photo. St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Below. “Casa Vincenziana” (Vincentian House)