The carrying of a bundle, or swag, is associated with a vagabond. It was used to hold a few poor possessions and therefore associated with the poor. For Chiara Lubich it signified sharing, giving and redistributing material possessions among the members of the nascent Focolare community of the mid-1040s. This is how a practice was begun of freely depriving oneself of what was excess, or even necessary, in order to share a gift with those in need.
That is the origin of the bundle, which has now found a home at the Lionello Bonfanti Business Park in Loppiano, a meeting place between those who have something to share and those who are in need. “Three thousand people have already shown up,” say coordinating team members Roberta Menichetti and Araceli Bigoni,“mostly families who live in the region.” Up until today thousands of clothing items, home furnishings, books, tools, utensils and games as well as intangible items such as time, talents, and availability – have come and gone off with new owners.”
“It’s not by coincidence that the project is hosted in the Lionello Bonfanti Business Park,” reiterates Eva Gullo, President of the EoC Association which administrates the Business Park. “This space is ‘home’ to all the components of the Economy of Communion. It is also dedicated to spreading the ‘culture of giving’, that is, the ability to contribute to the the social welfare beginning from one’s self.”
There are many stories of generosity surrounding this project. Like the family that was living in some buildings on the parish grounds of a nearby town. When they were able to move into a small house, they found all the furnishings for their new home here at this opportunity shop. Our network of friends also arranged for the transport and set up of the small house at zero cost.
Words like “providence” and “trust” are quite common around here. Like that afternoon when an infant’s crib was found and, just as it was taken away, another request was made for the same type of crib. Not even a half hour later the new crib arrived!
The Bundle Project won the “Engaging in Society” award offered by the New Poverty Section of the Catholic Insurance Foundation. Those funds will be used for a more functional layout of the premises.
Evening events were begun as a result of the sharing and giving. Formation courses and evening discussions with experts in the field, on topics such as consumerism, relational goods and trust, as well as training courses in economic approaches that are centred on the dignity of the human person. There is a “contributions” box at the entrance for anyone who wishes to leave a few euros for what they have found. The monies collected in the box have been used to pay the insurance bills of some local people and even the basic needs of others.
Source: Loppiano online