CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl Starts Ash Wednesday, March 9

February 15th, 2011

Your Lenten sacrifice can make a huge difference!  

Operation Rice Bowl, Catholic Relief Services annual Lenten program starts Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011.  Each Lent, millions of Catholics from schools and parishes from more than 12,000 communities across the United States participate in this national program to raise awareness of global hunger and poverty.


How does it work?

Participants make the small sacrifice of preparing simple, meatless meals each week and putting the money they would have spent on a bigger meal into symbolic rice bowls.  That money goes to support CRS’ ongoing mission to fight poverty.


Operation Rice Bowl in 2011

“The 2011 theme for CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl is We Are Disciples for All Nations,” says Beth Martin, program manager for Operation Rice Bowl.  “We hope this theme reflects that as Jesus’ disciples we have a responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters in all nations.  Operation Rice Bowl helps thousands of people onto a path out of poverty every year.”


How much does your sacrifice help?

Every year Catholics raise more than $8 million through CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl, 75 percent of which goes to fund hunger and poverty projects in 40 different countries.  The remaining 25 percent helps support pantries and food kitchens here in the United States.


Since its beginning in 1975, Operation Rice Bowl has raised more than $199 million to fund CRS’ development projects.  Many communities and families from almost every diocese in the U.S. have adopted Operation Rice Bowl as a way to observe Lent.


Materials and resources

An Operation Rice Bowl Calendar, which provides daily reflections and learning opportunities for the 40 days of Lent.  Other resources for families, schools, and parishes including an Educator’s Guide containing lesson plans and a Coordinator’s Guide to help Catholics participate as a group.


To learn more about CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl or to order materials, visit (link: )


Meet some of the people whose lives are impacted by CRS’ projects in countries around the world at


More about CRS

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.  The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion, or nationality.  For more information, please visit



In Kenya, CRS funds the Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya (EMACK II) Program, which supports the education of orphans and vulnerable children. The program provides students with school uniforms and bags, school supplies, and a child pack, which includes soap, a geometrical set, pens, tooth paste, and a toothbrush.

Regina Obambo is a teacher at St. Joseph Kinango Primary School. As part of the EMACK II Program, she issues uniforms to her pupils.

Photo courtesy of Lwanga Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa.