Solidarity emporium, where to find them and how to do your shopping

Food waste is a hot topic these days . Some companies move to produce by wasting less, supermarkets that donate surpluses and private citizens who purchase extra to then donate to those who need it. The situation has certainly worsened with the 2020 pandemic .

In reality, this topic has been debated for some years now. In a FAO report , The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2021, published in collaboration with Unicef, the International Fund for Agricultural Development , the United Nations World Food Program and the World Health Organization, we talk about waste food.

The report already estimated that in 2020 , at least 81 million people would suffer from hunger. And, again according to the FAO , it is estimated that 17% of the food produced, that is, approximately 931 million tons , is thrown into the garbage . These are figures that, undoubtedly, do not leave us indifferent.

But from difficulties , sometimes, initiatives arise that bring honor to many people . One of these is the opening of solidarity stores . They are small supermarkets where those in need can go and do their shopping. The products collected thanks to private donations, organizations or door-to-door collections are available free of charge to those who are unable to go shopping at the moment .

According to a report drawn up by the Italian Caritas and Csvnet , the first emporium was built in 1997 in Genoa. Since 2008 , thanks also to Caritas , which followed suit, the emporiums have begun to spread throughout the country . From some data from 2018 it emerges that in 19 Italian regions there is at least one solidarity emporium .

What are solidarity stores and where can we find them?

solidarity emporium where to find them and how to shop

Management is often handled by non -profit organizations . 52 % are associations, above all voluntary ones, 10% are social cooperatives and 35% are religious bodies or parishes. Only 3% are managed by public bodies . Inside the supermarket you can find packaged food and also fresh products.

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In some you can also have items of clothing . But it doesn’t end here. 86 % of emporiums offer very useful and important services such as job search guidance , access to family therapy and legal advice. Accessing it is very simple. You just need to meet some requirements which may differ from region to region.

Generally speaking, the people who can use all the services are those who find themselves in rather difficult economic conditions . It is necessary to produce some documents that attest to the economic difficulty of the moment, such as, for example, the ISEE . In some cases an individual interview is sufficient .

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Once access is granted, managers give the person or family a points card and they can start shopping . These initiatives were also made possible thanks to a law , 155/2003 known as the Good Samaritan law . And from a report by the Italian Caritas and Csvnet, today we can see where these emporiums are physically located .

The map still dates back to 2018 . At the time there were 178,  20 were still in the opening phase . The region that has opened the most is Lombardy with 24, followed by Emilia Romagna with 21, Piedmont with 18 and Veneto with 17. In reality today we can find one or, often, more than one emporium in every Italian region .