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Federico Abruzzi delivering food during the pandemic.
Federico Abruzzi delivering food during the pandemic. | Supplied photo

Soccer star delivers food to community

I left everything behind and potentially exposed myself to the virus to bring food to those who most need it.

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Federico Abruzzi
First-person source
Federico Abruzzi is a soccer player who, shortly after the mandatory quarantine began in Argentina, began collecting donations and cooking for people who did not have a plate of food.

I am a soccer player who understood that the human being’s solidarity sustains us as a society and that material thing does not make sense if we cannot help others.

The pandemic connected me to my roots and mobilized me to help those most in need.

I left everything behind and potentially exposed myself to the virus to bring food to those who most need it. 

I thought it was my time to give back a little bit after everything that life gave me.

Even today, my eyes fill with tears when I remember all those who came and thanked me for a plate of food.

Couldn’t sit on sidelines

COVID is a highly contagious virus. It is taking the lives of many loved ones.

It brought about the closure of many companies and, with them, unemployment grew.

Walking through the streets of my neighborhood, I noticed the lack of the people.

Every day, I discovered someone else was losing their job, they couldn’t get enough to eat, and they even lacked essential elements to sanitize and protect themselves from the virus.

I couldn’t sit idly by as my first steps in soccer happened there. 

I am who I am thanks to the people in my neighborhood, thanks to my friends and neighbors. I owe these people. My memories gave me the kickoff to help those who were not having a good time.

I was distressed (sometimes excessively), but something in my head lit up: I had to help them.

At that time, I had a contract with the Ferrocarril Midland club, in the fourth division of Argentine soccer.

Looking at this situation and how bad was the problem, I thought it was my time to give back a little bit of everything life gave me.

Fede Abruzzi
Fede Abruzzi | Wikipedia

Time to take action

I spoke with a group of friends from the neighborhood. 

It occurred to us to gather some money to cook in the club and feed those who needed it most.

Little by little, the project was becoming a reality.

We started to collect money and, after some talks with the club owners, we managed to open a little space to deliver free food.

The first few times, about 20 people approached, mostly acquaintances. It was because of them that we were there.

Those dinners were a party. It didn’t matter what the menu was. For them, it was a feast.

That family spirit transcended the few diners in attendance.

I was proud and happy with what we had achieved and what we were doing to help society. 

Big explosion

From one day to another, we started feeding around 200 people per night.

Society understood that they needed more help. That is why we began to receive clothes, mattresses, and even hygiene items.

We were shocked. We had achieved more than we had dreamed.

Behind the donations, we had awakened the empathy of a neighborhood turned off by COVID.

Even today, my eyes fill with tears when I remember all those who came and thanked me for a plate of food.

They felt recognized and accompanied at this tragic moment.

Seniors, young people, adults, and children gave me all their gratitude.

I understood that nothing had been in vain: the effort to collect each of the ingredients and go looking for donations despite the distance and sacrifice we did was worth it.

The brightness of their looks worked as a caress for each of us at each dinner we prepared.

I now understand that football is also this: neighborhood and solidarity.

On the field, I learned to be humble and supportive.

Teamwork is always more powerful and the results are visible.

According to official figures, the average of new infections reported each day in Argentina grows by more than 5,300 during the last three weeks, 35 per cent of its previous peak.

COVID-19 infections are increasing in Argentina, with 12,078 new infections reported on average each day. This represents 80 per cent of the peak — the highest average reported on October 20.

There have been 2,407,159 infections and 56,471 deaths related to the country’s coronavirus since the pandemic began.

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Deliberate effort is made for all stories that have been translated from the journalist's and/or subject's native language into English or vice versa to ensure the utmost accuracy in context and meaning.

Descargo de responsabilidad de traducción

Se hace un esfuerzo deliberado para todas las historias que se han traducido del idioma nativo del periodista y / o del sujeto al inglés o viceversa para garantizar la máxima precisión en el contexto y el significado.

I am 30 years old and I am from Argentina. I am a student of Sports Journalism at UNLP. I've been a basketball referee for 11 years. Journalist of De Taco.