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What are 'Rice Bowls' and what do they have to do with Lent?

3/8/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (

'It's a huge help. It's not a drop that gets lost in the water.'

There are many ways we can participate in Lent this year and one Catholic group offers great opportunities to help Catholics and those in need at the same time.

What is Operation Rice Bowl?

What is Operation Rice Bowl?


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Operation "Rice Bowl" was introduced by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Mexico.

Cecilia Suarez, the head of office for CRS, explained Rice Bowl boxes have been set up at Catholic schools across the United States, asking for Lenten sacrifices for the past forty years.

It began in 1975 in response to a famine in Africa. Since its inception, CRS Rice Bowl has raised over $250 million to use toward humanitarian aid.

Rice Bowl boxes continue to be used as small sacrifices for Lent, with a dollar each day, a quarter or even smaller coins making a difference for families around the world.

"I can testify," Suarez stated, "something that appears to be small...It's a huge help. It's not a drop that gets lost in the water." She continued, saying even just a dollar for each of Lent's 40 days makes a huge impact.

Rice Bowl boxes support key outreaches through CRS and other groups based in the United States, with $1 a day during Lent providing three months of clean water for four families, two years of seed for a farmer or a month of food for a family in a poor country.

In 2016, nearly 14,000 Catholics contributed to the $11.2 million Rice Bowl box program, which helped alleviate poverty and hunger in areas of need.

How can you use Lent to help others?

How can you use Lent to help others?

Suarez spoke at the Archdiocese of Washington's Pastoral Center in Hyattsville, Maryland to say: "The power of these small boxes is huge," adding it also helps children in the U.S. understand the challenges others around the world must face.

"To me, it has been like building bridges of solidarity between our two countries...You do a lot here that is helping change the lives of people," she added.

Similarly, Catholic Online offers an enhanced mission to not only fight global hunger and poverty via humanitarian aid, but also through educational services.

On the Your Catholic Voice Foundation site, there are numerous programs to help offer a moral Catholic education, educational tools and other forms of aid.

Through the Guardian Angel program, families in need are offered personalized Catholic education and an end to poverty, hunger and unsanitary conditions.

For more information on how to help during, and after, this Lenten season, please visit Your Catholic Voice Foundation.


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