The Rome branch of the Catholic Charity Caritas this year will receive €1.7 million that are thown in The Trevi Fountain and other fountains in Rome to help it fund a part of its budget to help homeless and poor people in Rome.
After several weeks of confusion, the mayor of Rome has clarified that coins scooped from the famous Trevi Fountain will not be used to pay for city council maintenance projects, but instead will continue to go to Caritas.
“Caritas and all the thousands of people it helps can rest assured,” Mayor Virginia Raggi told L’Osservatore Romano on January 14.
“I personally guarantee that this administration will never take away its contribution. On the issue of the coins, I confirm that they will continue to go to the charity. No one ever considered taking them away.”
Caritas Rome has been the beneficiary of the coins since 2001. Visitors to Rome toss about €1.5 million worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain each year, which represents just about 15% of Caritas’ charitable budget. The funds are mainly used for housing for the homeless, soup kitchens, and parish-based services for struggling families.
This year, coins collected from other fountains in the city, some €200,000, would also be given to Caritas Rome.
Rome’s City Council approved a proposal at the end of last December to use the funds gathered from the fountain for “maintenance of cultural sites and social welfare projects” “The Telegraph” reported.
An article denouncing the city council’s decision appeared in “Avvenire”, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, on January 12. Raggi now says the purpose of the December plan was merely to get an accurate count of the money in the fountains.
Raggi said the city’s utility company, ACEA, will be responsible for cleaning, sorting, and counting the coins under the new plan, a job previously done by Caritas volunteers.
Under the previous arrangement, ACEA periodically emptied the fountain and presented the coins to Caritas officials in the presence of the police. Caritas volunteers then dried, cleaned, separated by currency, counted and deposited the coins in the bank. Caritas provided a quarterly report to the city of how the funds were used, according to Avvenire.