McDonalds at St Peter's to feed homeless

Fast food giant teams up with Vatican to provide homeless with free meals.

The McDonald's fast-food outlet near St Peter's Square is to distribute more than 1,000 free meals to local homeless people in collaboration with the Medicina Solidale charity and the Apostolic Almoner, the pope's person in charge of delivering charity to the poor.

Every Monday from 16 January McDonald's will provide homeless people in the locality with a meal comprising a double-cheeseburger, apple slices and a bottle of water.

The initiative follows months of objections by cardinals, politicians and local residents over the controversial Borgo Pio location of the fast-food joint, and comes as Pope Francis steps up the Vatican's measures to help homeless people during Rome's recent spell of freezing weather.

McDonald's pays a monthly rent of €30,000 for the 500-sqm property which is owned by APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See), according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.