When I was in grade school, more than a few years ago, we always looked forward to the Operation Rice Bowl campaign in Lent. For six weeks, my classmates and I worked to fill our cardboard banks, which we proudly returned to school during Holy Week. Coins from bottle returns, money we earned doing extra chores, small change that my Mom would give me after a trip to the grocery store, extra contributions from my grandparents…. All helped to fill the bank which would help poor families in need around the world.
2016 marks the 41st year of CRS Rice Bowl – the largest and oldest Lenten program practiced by Catholics in the United States. In 41 years, generations of Catholics have used their Lenten sacrifice to alleviate hunger caused by poverty and improve the lives of individual and families in developing countries as well as in their own communities.
Early this year, I talked with my friend and fellow blogger Lisa Hendey about her trip with other Catholic bloggers to the coffee fields of Colombia. There, Lisa and the group saw firsthand the work that Catholic Relief Services was doing in that mountainous nation. You can read that story in the National Catholic Register.
Almsgiving is one of the spiritual pillars of Lent. If you have a Lenten bank, it’s time to turn it in! If you don’t have one, you can still contribute to help Catholic Relief Services in its charitable work around the world. Just mail your check to Catholic Relief Services, ATTN: CRS Rice Bowl, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303.