Euronews visits a store in Rome providing people with groceries for free, as one in twelve Italians live in 'absolute poverty'.
One in twelve people lives in absolute poverty in Italy, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute. And with those figures on the rise, more and more people cannot afford to buy essential items like food or clothing.
In Rome, one market is trying to help people in need by providing them with groceries for free.
Vittoria Luciani is one of them. She relies on a few hundred euros from her pension and she comes to the store once a month to get extra help.
“Thank god I have a house that my parents left me but those who earn around 400 euros a month and have to pay for rent, food and utility bills well can you tell me how can they survive?" Luciani said.
"I feel so ashamed because to me it seems like I am begging so many times I have chosen not to come and skip a meal”.
Nonna Roma is the charity behind the project. The group also delivers food parcels to thousands of families.
“Since the first lockdown, our activity has increased dramatically and together with that we have received an increased number of donations,**"**Margherita Venditti, who works with Nonna Roma, told Euronews.
"So we have gone from helping 150 households a month to around 800 every Weekend. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, demand has skyrocketed and the increase is constant”
Pensioners and working families are among the people who rely the most on this type of support. The sharp rise in the cost of living is one of the main causes.
“There are two types of factors. One is short term with high inflation being the main one," Giovanni Farese, the Dean of the Graduate School of Economics, Università Europea di Roma, said.
"We know inflation hits fixed salaries and people with low income. Then you have got more structural causes. Low growth is one of them. Italy is one of the biggest European countries whose economy has not grown much for quite a long time.
"The other cause is low salaries.”
Struggling families blame the Italian government and recent cuts to welfare benefits.
And if we look at other European countries – it doesn’t get any better. According to Eurostat, more Italians are at risk of suffering from poverty than average EU residents.