Pope Francis has offered one million euros (1.1 million dollars) for a new charity fund targeting people in Rome left in dire straits by the coronavirus (COVID-19) economic crisis.
The fund, called “Jesus Divine Worker,” will be managed by the Roman branch of Caritas, the Catholic charity, the Diocese of Rome said in a Tuesday statement.
As well as the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, the pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and he made the donation in that capacity.
In a letter to Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, who effectively runs the Diocese of Rome on the pope’s behalf, Francis said the money should help needy people get back on their feet.
He mentioned people with casual, temporary jobs or with contracts that have not been renewed, interns, people with small businesses, domestic workers and the self-employed.
“Many of them are mothers and fathers who are struggling to bring food on the table for their children and ensure they have the bare minimum,” he wrote.
Francis urged public institutions, priests and ordinary people to also take part in charity efforts. “I appeal to the good heart of all the Romans,” he said.
The municipality of Rome and the region of Lazio, which includes the Italian capital city, responded by each offering 500,000 euros for the new fund.
De Donatis, who was personally affected by the epidemic as he tested positive in late March and was hospitalized for more than 10 days, said he was “deeply grateful” to the pope.