The McDonald's branch next to the Vatican has received a lot of flak ever since it opened last month, but it still did a good turn recently by donating 1,000 free meals to the homeless.
Since Rome welcomed the cold weather last week, one of the biggest concerns of the Italian charity Medicina Solidale is how to provide food and shelter for the homeless. They already turned one church into a temporary shelter, and with the help of McDonald's, they were able to provide free meals as well.
Medicina Solidale is an association of doctors who volunteer to help the homeless in Rome. Gianluca Scarnicci, a press officer of the organisation, told the Catholic News Agency that it was actually quite easy getting McDonald's on board their charity project.
They asked McDonald's "beyond the controversy" if they would like to donate "some food to give to the homeless of St. Peter's."
"And the McDonald's management told us yes immediately," said Scarnicci.
The fast food chain provided 1,000 sets of double cheeseburgers, an apple and water. They distributed 50 meals on Monday, and will continue to do so until June.
"The offer of meals let us make a step forward, giving to the women and men living on the street in the neighbourhood the chance of a balanced meal, with an adequate supply of proteins and vitamins," added the charity's director Lucia Ercoli.
However, a community group called Safeguard the Borgo is not pleased with McDonald's actions and has accused the fast food chain of exploiting the homeless, according to The Guardian.
The group said McDonald's donation was nothing but a "commercial transaction which cynically uses the homeless and offends many years and daily work [done by others] to help alleviate extreme poverty."
It added: "Why doesn't McDonald's distribute its food waste to the homeless every day?"