National Program Raises Awareness of Global Hunger, Poverty
Every year, millions of Catholics in the United States participate in Operation Rice Bowl (ORB), Catholic Relief Services’ annual Lenten program that starts on Ash Wednesday, March 9. Each Lent, Catholic parishes and schools from more than 12,000 communities use symbolic rice bowls as the focal point for their prayer, fasting and learning. Getting involved in the program is a tangible way to help people living in poverty around the world.
Participants in Operation Rice Bowl make the small sacrifice of preparing simple, meatless recipes each week and putting the money they otherwise would have spent on a big meal into symbolic rice bowls. That money goes to support CRS’ mission to fight global hunger and poverty.
“Participating in Operation Rice Bowl provides Catholics with 40 days of making a real difference in the lives of people struggling with hunger and poverty,” says Beth Martin, program manager for Operation Rice Bowl. “Learning about our brothers and sisters in developing countries and following the call to sacrifice helps thousands of people onto a path out of poverty every year.”
An Operation Rice Bowl calendar provides daily reflections and learning opportunities – told through the eyes of people helped by the program – that reinforce ORB’s message and mission. To help families, schools and parishes participate in Operation Rice Bowl, CRS also makes a number of resources available, including an Educator’s Guide containing lesson plans and a Coordinator’s Guide to help Catholics participate as a group.
Last year, Catholics raised more than $6 million through Operation Rice Bowl, 75 percent of which is used to fund hunger and poverty projects in 40 countries. The remaining 25 percent stays in U.S. dioceses to support food pantries and soup kitchens.
Since its beginning in 1975, ORB has raised more than $191 million to fund CRS’ development projects. With active participation in almost every diocese in the U.S., many communities and families have adopted Operation Rice Bowl as a way to observe Lent.
Resources for your use, including stories, photos and multimedia, are available at orb.crs.org/.
Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org.