Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Amid one of Italy's hottest summers on record, Pope Francis has sent ice cream to thousands of inmates at two Rome prisons as a gesture of goodwill.
The pope sent about 15,000 ice creams to Regina Coeli prison in central Rome and Rebibbia prison just outside the city.
The Vatican said the gifts were "small evangelical gestures to help and give hope to thousands of people in Rome's prisons."
The Vatican added that volunteers have been spending time visiting prisoners this summer, and noted that the acts of mercy are outlined in the Catholic faith.
Other works of corporal mercy include feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, housing pilgrims and strangers, visiting and supporting the sick and burying the dead.
Italy is experiencing one of its hottest summers in recent memory. Last month, a city in Sicily recorded a temperature of nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Vatican said its charities office has not taken a vacation this summer and that other services have been provided, like COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
Last month, Francis urged all people to get vaccinated, saying that receiving the coronavirus vaccine is an act of love and is the quickest route to end the pandemic.