Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. CRS works to ease human suffering and promote justice around the world. In the United States, CRS educates Catholics about global solidarity.

The Diocese of Little Rock CRS office helps raise awareness of the work of CRS and provides them with fundraising support. Our diocese currently is most involved in CRS Rice Bowl, which takes place each Lent. Seventy-five percent of money collected through this program is sent to CRS to help support their work. The other 25 percent remains in the diocese to help fund Catholic Charities of Arkansas' Emergency Assistance program.

Worldwide, CRS works in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Most of the poorest people in the world are low-income farmers, and so a major focus of CRS is agricultural assistance. Other areas of focus are improving community health, promoting greater access to good education, providing an emergency response during natural disasters and humanitarian crises, care for people with HIV/AIDS and peace building.

People are still rebuilding after the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013. Recovery is expected to take three to five years. Our diocese collected $197,000 for CRS to assist their relief efforts. Initially, CRS pledged $20 million in aid, but was able to actually deliver $50 million.

In February, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor received a thank you letter, on behalf of our diocese, from Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services. He asked Bishop Taylor to share this video (left) in gratitude for the generosity of so many. Bishop Taylor added: "I thank you for your loving and caring hearts. And may God bless you always."

CRS has several programs available for youth to learn more about global issues such as hunger, economic equality and peace building. CRS also has a great website and most of their educational materials can be downloaded or ordered free of charge. Learn more

Outreach Programs
  • CRS Rice Bowl — CRS Rice Bowl is a Lenten program that seeks to educate participants on issues faced by the poor in the developing world and to raise funds for CRS' overseas development projects. For more information, go to CRS Rice Bowl.
  • Fair Trade — The Fair Trade program ensures that small-scale artisans and farmers overseas earn a fair price for their work. For more information, go to CRS Fair Trade.
  • Food Fast — Targeted for grades 8-12, Food Fast educates youth on Catholic Social teaching and the reality of severe inequalities in resource allocation. For more information, go to CRS Food Fast.
  • CRS Collection — This national collection is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent and raises funds for Catholic Relief Services. For more information, go to the Special Collections.