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Aid workers from 75+ countries raise their voices for “food for all”

The Caritas stand at the Expo World's Fair in Milan.

The Caritas stand at the Expo World’s Fair in Milan.

On 19 May, the global Catholic humanitarian network will be the focus of ‘Caritas Day’ at the Expo World’s Fair in Milan, Italy. ‘Caritas Day’ will be a full day dedicated to the fight against hunger, with speakers from six continents sharing their experiences about effective ways to feed the world. The night before, on 18 May, Church leaders will join Italian celebrities outside Milan’s historic cathedral for an evening of music, prayer and reflection.

The Caritas campaign “One human family, food for all” was launched by Pope Francis in December 2013 with a wave of prayer that went from Rome to all corners of the world. Over the past 18 months, Caritas aid workers have built up existing programmes in agriculture, livelihoods, irrigation and more, sharing expertise to help families feed themselves. Caritas advocacy teams have joined forces to lobby governments for the right to food and food sovereignty. And in dioceses, Caritas has raised awareness about food waste, food speculation and other problems that hurt the hungry.

“The success of the Caritas ‘Food for All’ campaign can be seen in the numbers of people who have more to eat, ” said Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “And it’s also unified all Caritas members to work together towards a common goal.”

During ‘Caritas Day,’ delegates of Caritas will represent thousands of volunteers and workers involved in the daily fight against hunger. Caritas staff will come to Milan from more than 75 countries in Africa, North and South America, Asia, Oceania and Europe.

The day will begin at 10:30 in the Expo’s auditorium with a round table on food security and the conclusions of a Caritas survey about the causes of hunger. In the afternoon, delegates will present seven projects–one from each Caritas region–that were effective in empowering people to grow or earn enough to eat.

At 17.30, Caritas delegates and fans will parade from the auditorium to the Caritas stall at the Expo and a young Caritas representative will plant a flower in the shape of the number 805, commemorating the 805 million people who still do not have enough food.

As a prelude to ‘Caritas Day,’ Caritas delegates will be welcomed on the evening of 18 May at Milan’s cathedral. Beginning at 21.00 at the Piazza Duomo, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and other Church leaders will join great names from Italian cinema, music and theater, as well as a band from Caritas Panama.

Among the artists will be the Lebanese soprano Tania Kassis, who will perform a version of the Hail Mary. Also taking the stage there will be Father Ambroise Tine, outgoing Secretary General of Caritas Senegal, who will speak about the food crisis that hit the Sahel region.

“Caritas groups throughout Italy and throughout the world have united under the ‘Food for All’ campaign, which is a perfect match for the themes of the Milan Expo: ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’,” said Luciano Gualzetti, deputy director of Caritas Milan. “It’s a joy to celebrate the success of a campaign that has been so wide-reaching. Working together, we have accomplished so much.”

For more information, please contact Laura Sheahen, Communications Officer, at +39 335 823 4233 or sheahen@caritas.va