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.