From Queen Elizabeth II to restaurateurs in the L.A. area, everyone offers support to the people hit by last week’s deadly earthquake.
The tragic events of last week’s earthquake in central Italy touched the minds and hearts of a large number of people, all over the world. The nature itself of the tragedy, uncontrollable, devastating and to many extents unavoidable, makes it all the closer to the mind of many.
Reflection of it is the true rush to support and aid the people of Accumoli, Amatrice and Arquata del Tronto, all violently hit by the earthquake. From every corner of Italy and the world, people have been gathering money and sending help to relieve the pain and support reconstruction.
The people of Italy
Since the morning of the tragedy, Italy's well oiled solidarity machine has begun working: blood donation centres around the country coordinated with one another to supply local hospitals with much needed blood, with nationally organised medical supplies collections taking place everywhere. From private to church or community lead charities, all chipped in with food, clothing, medications or quite simply with their own hands to dig out survivors from the rubble.
The Pope immediately responded to the tragedy with prayers and blessing, politicians with ideas about how to retrieve extra funding for reconstruction.
Of great impact has been the decision of all national museums around the country to donate last Sunday's earnings to the earthquake relief, as well as the decision of Sampdoria's soccer team's president to do the same with half of the profits from the famous "derby della Lanterna" game, which sees the two teams from Genoa, Genoa and Sampdoria, facing each other.
In a period of rising intolerance and worry about immigration, the choice of many a refugee to get involved with the rescue efforts must be noted: many of those hosted in neighbouring villages and towns eagerly ran to the aid of the “Protezione Civile" and the Italian Army, helping them in the initial search for survivors. Others came from as far as Puglia to give a hand. Touching is also the thought of a large number of refugees from several areas of Italy, who decided to donate most of their daily money allowance to the people hit by the earthquake.
Restaurateurs from all around the world get involved
Amatrice, a beautiful medieval village on the Lazio Appennines, has been severely damaged by the earthquake. It is also the historical birthplace of one of Italy's most iconic dishes, pasta all'Amatriciana, a delicious mix of tomato sauce, "guanciale" and chili, finished up with a sprinkling of pecorino. Inspired by the fact, Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food and Terra Madre, has launched the #unfuturoperamatrice (a future for Amatrice) initiative, calling restaurateurs from all over the world to introduce the famous pasta dish into their menus for at least one year and to donate part of the profits derived from its sales to the earthquake’s victims. Petrini’s idea has been embraced by a large number of restaurants in Italy and abroad, with some notorious names joining in: celebrity chef Jamie Oliver declared Amatriciana was to become part of all of its U.K. restaurants' menus, with 2 euro from each sale going to earthquake relief.
Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles
The Italian Consulate in Los Angeles posted on its website a link to the Italian Red Cross, which is accepting donations from people around the world, either online or via wire transfers. Moreover, in the effort of collecting aid for earthquake victims, the Italian Consulate in LA is committed to help any local Italian groups that want to set-up fundraisers and anyone who would like to show solidarity.
A book of condolence for the victims of the earthquake was also made available at the offices of the Consulate General from Monday, August 29, through Tuesday, August 30 for anyone who wanted to leave their thoughts.
Italian Americans lending a hand
The Italian American community has been touched by the tragic events of central Italy and have been actively helping. NIAF (the National Italian American Foundation), for example, has been supporting rescue operations, as well as collecting donations to go towards long term help to the areas affected.
Crucially, many restaurants around the US decided to embrace the “A Future for Amatrice”’s initiative and introduced pasta all’Amatriciana in their menus. Notable is the effort of LA based Italian food and cuisine’s association, Foodiamo: with the support of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, which invited Italian restaurants of the area to participate, Foodiamo has been actively promoting the businesses involved on their website, keeping up to date the quickly growing list of Californian eateries taking part in the initiative.
For more information on the participating restaurants, visit the Foodiamo’s website, www.foodiamo.com.