By Vatican News staff writer
Once again, the arm of Pope Francis has reached out to the last, the least and the lost. This time it is his own home turf – Rome.
A Christmas gift of 4,000 Covid-19 swab kits from Slovakia to Pope Francis has been destined for the homeless of Rome.
The initiative led by the Office of Papal Charities, in collaboration with the Institute of Solidarity Medicine (IMES) and IFO San Gallicano and in agreement with Rome municipality, will make Covid-19 tests available for the homeless in the Italian capital.
These swabs are a gift from Slovakia to the Pope.
In a statement, the IMES expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Pope Francis and to Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner or almsgiver who heads the Office of Papal Charities, for the charitable gesture.
For over 16 years, the non-profit organization, with its highly-qualified medical staff, health workers and volunteers, has been committed to combating poverty and improving access to health for the poor and marginalized social groups, living in and around Rome.
Seventy percent of its patients are immigrants and the Roma people. 30 percent are Italian and 70% are women.
The IMES has also thanked Cardinal Krajewski for making it possible to protect the vulnerable with the swab test kits, including health checks in dedicated facilities for people on the street. IMES and IFO San Gallicano have been working together in this initiative.