For 40 years ago, Catholics in the United States have been helping with world famine and poverty during Lent by participating in the Catholic Relief Services Operation (CRS) Rice Bowl program. Participants learn about needs around the world and they devote Lenten prayers, fasts and donations to help change the lives of those who suffer in poverty.
With Operation Rice Bowl, participants journey through the 40 days of Lent following a collection of reflections and activities on the Rice Bowl calendar. A mobile app is also available that feature a ‘virtual’ Rice Bowl plus videos, recipes, reflections and stories of hope from people around the world whose lives have improved by programs funded through CRS Rice Bowl.
Rice Bowl financial donations are used to help alleviate hunger and poverty in communities overseas and in the U.S.: Seventy-five percent of the donations are used outside of the United States to support CRS’ humanitarian programs around the world. Some program examples include:
- Agriculture projects help farmers improve harvests
- Water and sanitation projects bring clean water to communities
- Microfinance projects support small businesses
- Mother and child health projects offer health and nutrition services
- Education projects provide resources and training
The remaining 25 percent of the donations are allocation to U.S. dioceses to help fight hunger and poverty. Each diocese uses these donations differently.
Over the 40 years, $250 million has been donated to Operation Rice Bowl. $62.5 million served the U.S. through local dioceses programs and $187.5 million helped with CRS programs overseas. Each year CRS Rice Bowl funds are directed to 40 or 45 countries where CRS runs humanitarian programs.
Rice Bowls are distributed prior to the start of Lent at all weekend Masses.
St. Norbert Parish’s volunteers are needed to distribute and collect the Rice Bowl offerings.
How to Volunteer
Participation in this ministry can be as simple as filling up your Rice Bowl. You can also be intimately involved with this ministry by assisting with the volunteer responsibilities.
If you are interested in helping, please contact the Parish Office or click here to complete the on-line Operation Rice Bowl Volunteer Sign-Up form.