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Emporio Solidale in Ragusa: a turning point in support policies for people in need

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It's called "Emporio Solidale", and it's a small supermarket where people in need can access food, other essential goods, and personal and household hygiene products. The Diocese of Ragusa has created it to celebrate, in a solidarity manner, the second anniversary of Bishop Giuseppe La Placa's episcopal ordination. The supermarket will be inaugurated on Sunday, July 16th, at 6:15 PM, thanks to the established partnership between Caritas Diocesana of Ragusa, Fondazione Progetto Arca, and the support of Enel Cuore, an Onlus of the Enel Group, within the framework of the project "Solidarity Emporiums and Mobile Kitchens for the Most Vulnerable. Measures to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion."

The service will be made possible by a network involving the Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Ragusa, which has generously provided the premises of the former male educational center on Corso Italia (entrance from Via Minardi 144 bis); local businesses (including Ergon) and individuals have ensured the supply of goods and necessary items to start the service, and the role of volunteers has been crucial. In the spirit of collaboration, appropriate partnerships with local institutional entities will be activated.

Access to the Emporio will be granted to people referred by local parishes and diocesan services (Citizens' Listening Center, Serious Marginality, Housing First), all interconnected through the Ospoweb computer system.

The Emporio Solidale aims to provide an additional response to the poverty emergency. Caritas has devised a mechanism whereby individuals receive a card with loaded points based on the composition and needs of their families (the presence of minors or children under three years of age allows for a bonus). The person can then go shopping and use the points to choose the products they need.

"Unlike many services that are inaugurated, we hope to close the Emporio Solidale soon," says Domenico Leggio, the director of Caritas Diocesana. The Emporio Solidale clearly complements other support measures provided by our Caritas, parish networks, private entities, and public institutions. The issuance of the card is temporary to avoid fostering dependency. Therefore, even in this service, our goal is to accompany people towards autonomy. The availability of points will be managed directly by the family, making it an educational and empowering tool."

"The bishop, continues the director of Caritas Diocesana, has supported and encouraged the establishment of Emporio Solidale, believing in the effectiveness of this system from the very beginning, also to restore dignity to people and families experiencing difficult situations. The service, as conceived by the bishop, aims to sensitize the local community to the issue of poverty, particularly related to food and health, by initiating a new methodology in the area and progressively expanding it to other points in the city and other municipalities within the Diocese." Alberto Sinigallia, President of Fondazione Progetto Arca, adds: "We are concerned about the economic crisis affecting many people in recent years. That's why we are dedicating resources and expertise to the construction of solidarity markets in several Italian cities, designed to enable families to access healthy food and integrate into the community. These objectives and values are also present here at Emporio Solidale in Ragusa, where we are happy to contribute and provide assistance."