CRS Rice Bowl: Change lives by giving alms

Published: March 2, 2022

"During this Lent, may we practice almsgiving by giving joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). God who 'supplies seed to the sower and bread for food' (2 Corinthians 9:10) enables each of us not only to have food to eat, but also to be generous in doing good to others." — Pope Francis, 2022 Lenten Message

Looking for an effective way to teach your children about Lent, Jesus’ sacrifice and how they can help those in need while living out their faith? Try CRS Rice BowlThis Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Lenten project encourages participants to perform a simple sacrifice by substituting a low-cost meatless meal for more expensive dining once a week, and put the money saved in the cardboard "rice bowl."

If you didn't get a rice bowl at church or school, you can download the materials to make one for free. You can also donate online. Use the Lenten calendar each day to practice the Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. All materials are also available through the CRS Rice Bowl App.

“By making a small sacrifice during Lent, Catholics in the U.S. can be a part of the larger movement of CRS Rice Bowl,” said Beth Martin, director of mission and mobilization campaigns at CRS. “Not just around the world, where the help is needed, but also here at home, where families might also be struggling to put enough food on the table.”

Each year, CRS Rice Bowl highlights families from three countries that benefit from this project. This year, families in Rwanda, Guatemala and Bangladesh are featured. Through their stories, rice bowl participants learn how they overcome factors that lead to hunger, including flooding and drought.

Catholics from 14,000 communities across the United States use nearly 3 million rice bowls, which are turned in at the end of Lent. Seventy-five percent goes to support CRS’ humanitarian and development programs outside the United States, while 25 percent remains in the local diocese from which the donation came. 

In the Diocese of Little Rock, $26,924.08 was collected in 2021 through CRS Rice Bowl. Twenty-five percent of the money, or $6,731.02, remained in Arkansas to assist low-income families through Catholic Charities of Arkansas.

In its first 40 years, more than $250 million was given through CRS Rice Bowl. Of that, $62.5 million went to programs in the U.S. and $187.5 million went to CRS programs overseas.

In addition to dropping money in rice bowls, participants can take advantage of the program's prayer resources and reflections, the daily calendardigital retreat, weekly stories of hope that introduce families from around the world and recipes from various countries for meatless meals that can be enjoyed on Fridays during Lent. These materials are designed for familiesparisheseducators and dioceses in English and SpanishFor more information, visit CRS Rice Bowl or contact Megan Moore at (501) 664-0340, ext. 379.