Come on grandparents!

“Forza nonni!”(“Come on grandparents!”) is a project born after the outbreak of the pandemic. When it suddenly became clear that the older ones had become much more fragile, and – unfortunately – because they were dying. Their life had suddenly become complicated and everything had become more difficult: from collecting medicines to maintaining a minimum of human relationships with their children and grandchildren.

Deep loneliness marked by fear but also by despair. Bersezio Foundation has always supported us in this project. So, we got going and identified the most fragile “over 80s” in Turin, looking into every single situation in a prompt manner. To support our elderly, we have launched an assistance programme that provides three different forms of help for each beneficiary: the delivery of the Thirteenth Salary of Friendship (the € 500 subsidy that every Christmas, since 1976, we have offered to thousands of elderly people); the donation of two bags of shopping a month left safely on the doormat; the assistance of a domestic worker for four hours a month. We also provide a constant telephone presence with moments of sharing and even psychological support if necessary. All ways to say “Come on grandparents: you are not alone!”

With 2021 the number of elderly people assisted in Turin has risen to 75 already in January and the initiative has been extended to all piedmontese provincial capitals. The choice will be made after a verification of each individual situation, in addition to checking the Isee model. All this is made possible partly by the sum of one million euros raised for the Thirteenth friendship and partly by the donations that we expect to receive during 2021.

Support for the elderly

Franco, who at 76 lives in a dormitory and dreams of an apartment. Luigina, who cannot walk and is stuck in the house in an eternal lockdown. Antonio, who shows the unpaid bills and explains why he can’t manage: the pension is too low, the expenses too high. Nobody can give him a hand. And Covid has made him even more alone.

The elders of the Thirteenth Salary of Friendship have the same eyes as our parents and grandparents. But they have stories like this behind them: normal families destroyed by misfortune, layoffs or quarrels. Very deep wounds, bank accounts in the red, sudden poverty and poverty that some have always had. They are frail elderly who are even more at risk with the health emergency. They are getting sick and have been forgotten. This is why we want to embrace them in the only possible way, with practical help. What we have offered every Christmas since 1976 to thousands of people like Franco, Luigina and Antonio. A cheque used to pay for heating and rent. A gift that gives hope in these weeks of fear.

In 45 editions of our historic project supported by the readers of La Stampa, we have delivered 70 thousand grants in Turin, for a total of 28.5 million euros. This year, for the first time, we are taking the initiative to the whole of Piedmont and to five other regions with the Specchio d’Italia foundation. So the Thirteenth Salaries are arriving in Genoa, Rome, Bari, Sassari, the city and the province of Milan, as well as in Cuneo, Asti, Vercelli, Alessandria, Novara, Biella. The mechanism is always the same: we are collecting hundreds of requests. Each senior citizen involved in the project receives a cheque for 300 euros by Christmas. Each offer entrusted to us immediately turns into concrete help. The more funds we raise, the more elderly people we embrace.