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ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the Italian capital, dozens of refugees, poor and homeless people attended a charity event on Friday where they received lunch boxes and gifts from a Catholic community.

The Community of Sant'Egidio has been organising Christmas lunch for people in need every year since 1982.

This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the traditional meal was replaced by a distribution of lunch boxes, cooked by volunteers, and gifts.

Hundreds of people used to enjoy the Christmas lunch in Santa Maria in Trastevere Church, the headquarters of the Sant'Egidio Community.

On Christmas Day, only around one hundred people could attend this Christmas celebration in person.

However, dozens of volunteers started to distribute food parcels and gifts not just in Rome and in Italy, but throughout Europe and other continents, according to the community organisers.

Last Christmas 60,000 people in Italy and over 200,000 people around the world received aid from the Sant'Egidio Community.

The gifts included ready-to-eat meals, warm winter clothes and blankets, house cleaning products and personal hygiene items.