At the end of 2016, McDonald's opened a location just outside of Vatican City, in a building owned by the Vatican. This controversial decision was called "a disgrace" by Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, who said that the space should be used to help the needy. 

According to The Guardian, locals in Vatican City feared that those giant golden arches would take away from the culture of their city.

In an effort to fight the negativity surrounding their new location, McDonald's recently announced in this press release that they plan to give away 1,000 free lunches to homeless in the area. The plan began earlier this week on January 16th.

hamburger, meat, cheese, beef, french fries, lettuce, bread, sandwich
Bernard Wen

Although the plan seems like a good thing, it's got many people raising their eyebrows. Many critics are accusing Mickey D's of exploiting the homeless in order to look better to the public. 

A community group called Safeguard the Borgo said that McDonald's new effort to feed the homeless is simply a "commercial transaction which cynically uses the homeless."

The group, which is based in the district that the McDonald's is in, went on to further ask "Why doesn't McDonald's distribute its food waste to the homeless every day?" 

Photo by Nacho Arteaga | Unsplash

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They point to this as a main indicator that this plan is a huge PR stunt because McDonald's only began to use their waste in this productive way after meeting criticism.

The plan is scheduled to last for the next six months and they have handed out 50 meals so far. For now, critics of McDonald's hope that people will focus on the other efforts to feed the homeless in Rome such as when Pope Francis threw a pizza party for the homeless or when he celebrated his birthday by dining with the homeless.