Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. church’s international relief and development agency, received Operation Rice Bowl donations from 12,681 parishes and schools across the country this year. Participating donors (and possible future contributors) can check out how their contributions are used here.
Operation Rice Bowl began in 1975 in the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., in response to a drought in Africa. CRS adopted it as a national program a year later. Each Lent, about 13,000 faith communities in the U.S. take part in the program, contributing roughly $8 million a year.
During Fridays in Lent, families are encouraged to prepare a simple meal and place the money they saved in the cardboard Operation Rice Bowl boxes, which their school or parish then sends on to CRS headquarters in Baltimore.
Seventy-five percent of these donations support hunger and poverty relief efforts around the world and 25 percent is allocated for hunger and poverty relief in the U.S. diocese where the funds were collected.