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During Pandemic Italians Lower Baskets from Balcony to Feed Hungry

Pina Andelora and Angelo Picone are street musicians and activists, accustomed to engaging the passers-by on Spaccanapoli, the historic central street in the middle of Naples. Once the coronavirus hit Italy--and hit it hard--it left people like them without a means to contribute to the vibrancy of their city. Or so they thought--until another opportunity unveiled itself.

When Pina and Angelo realized that the lockdown also prevented local soup kitchens from serving the homeless community, they resurrected an old tradition to meet an immediate need. They began preparing meals from their home to give to those in need, but instead of standing on the street, they used an alternative delivery system.

Picone said, “We realized there's the issue of safety and social distance. So, we relied on an old Neapolitan custom — lowering food baskets from our balcony.” Included in the baskets was a slogan from a legendary Neopolitan doctor known for treating the poor: “Those who can, put something in, those who can't, help yourself.”

The baskets have helped to spur a reawakening of generosity in the city. Not only have citizens contributed food to the baskets, but Pina and Angelo were contacted by a local cheese artisan who wants to ship some of his Parmesan to the couple so they can include it in their food baskets. Angelo hopes this wave of generosity will continue because the need will not abate soon. He says, “This crisis will be long. Artists like us have to pay rent and bills, and many people depend on our assistance.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

The words of Jesus are brought to life when ordinary people use innovative means to bring help to those in need.


Sylvia Poggioli, “In Naples, Pandemic 'Solidarity Baskets' Help Feed The Homeless,” NPR (4-7-20)

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