Forty-five editions, over 70 thousand aid packages delivered, a collection of approximately €28.5 million (up to today). In these figures lies the miracle of the Thirteenth Salaries of Friendship by Specchio dei tempi, the historic subscription that every Christmas offers economic support to the poorest and loneliest elderly. Born in 1976 in Turin, the Thirteenth Salaries have been a fixed appointment since then, having greater value and greater weight especially in difficult years such as these. Years in which the crisis affects the weakest, above all the elderly, who often find themselves with a very minimal pension, inadequate in the face of higher expenses. In addition, the elderly are “voiceless”: they can neither protest nor complain. They often disguise great poverty with traits of pride. The need and relevance of the Thirteenth Salary is so evident, even in a context that sees an increase in requests for help and a decrease in the possibilities of donors.
The requests arrive every year with hundreds of letters on the desks of Specchio: sometimes expressed with desperate phrases, other times with the reluctance of those who never wanted to ask, but now can’t take it anymore. On the other side of the scale is the affection of our donors for those who are already over 65 and who, in addition to the burden of age, have to bear that of loneliness, poverty and disease.
The first cheque in 1976 was for 30,000 lire, paid to thirty elderly people. A figure that today seems very small, which has grown to the current 500 euros. In recent years, the number of elderly people benefitting every Christmas has exceeded 2000. In 2019 we expanded our range of action and in addition to the elderly in Turin, we also helped 300 residents in the rest of Piedmont. Now with the Specchio d’Italia project we will take the initiative to other regions of the country, fuelling this moving show of solidarity which seems endless.