An historic church has been opened as a temporary night shelter for the homeless in Rome, where freezing weather has already claimed the lives of five people living on the streets.
Charities have been calling on people to help those affected by the cold, resulting in donations and many volunteers coming forward.
Lucia Lucchini, a Sant’Egidio community volunteer, told reporters: “They come with a big smile, they’re happy and they ask for a hot drink.
“Usually they stay to talk with us for a while. You can notice this sense of gratitude, then they go to bed, all of them very tired.”
A charity has also called on a new McDonald’s recently opened just outside the walls of the Vatican to provide food for the homeless, resulting in the donation of a thousand meals.
One homeless man who received a meal told reporters: “It would be good if these multi-national companies gave poor people food at the end of the day, instead of throwing it away.”
Italian charities say the cold weather has resulted in the dearth of at least 15 people
across the country since December.