Rice Bowl Collections Provide Hope for Those Less Fortunate
During this Lenten season, St. Raymond School and Parish will be participating in the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl program. Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Started in Pennsylvania in 1975, "Operation Rice Bowl" soon spread across the country as it called on Catholics to perform a simple act of Lenten sacrifice – substitute a low-cost meatless meal for more expensive dining once a week during Lent and put the money saved in a cardboard rice bowl.
Funds collected in the rice bowls, which are turned in at the end of Lent, are distributed both around the world and in local communities to combat hunger – 75 percent of every donation goes to CRS programming in targeted countries worldwide while 25 percent remains in the local diocese from which the donation came, supporting initiatives that help alleviate poverty. In its first 40 years, more than $250 million has been given through CRS Rice Bowl to support programs that prevent hunger and poverty around the world. Of that, $62.5 million went to programs in the U.S. through local dioceses and $187.5 million went to CRS programs overseas.
St. Raymond students are asked to contribute to the Rice Bowl by collecting coins from around the house, donating money they have earned or donating the change they receive when they make a purchase. The students are asked to think about the difference a few coins can make in the lives of those less fortunate. The goal is to go beyond collecting money and spur discussions – in schools, churches and around family dinner tables – about the meaning of Lent and the daily reality that people living in poverty face.