Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rice Bowl Project Feeds the Hungry at Home and Away

By Adrienne Curry

So many of us feel powerless to address the obscene poverty that affects two-thirds of the world’s population, over 35,000 children die every day for reasons that stem directly from their poverty, the cry for definitive action is deafening.  Locally, the economy is adding unwanted stress to low-income families.  The need for food assistance is also growing as the cuts to public assistance, food stamps, unemployment and underemployment continue to make a damaging impact on families.  Food pantries across the Archdiocese have experienced a rise in families who need food.

I would like to invite you to join us in Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program Operation Rice Bowl (ORB).  ORB is an opportunity to actively help the poor locally and internationally and offers another easy avenue to take definitive action for justice and increase the visibility of your ministry for social justice.

75% of the alms raised go to the development projects in the five countries designated for 2012.  Those countries are: Madagascar (Agriculture), Vietnam (Education), El Salvador (Water/Sanitation), Zambia (Microfinance), India (Mother/Child Health) and the last week the project is a featured U.S. diocese, this year the Diocese of Arlington.  25% of the alms raised stay in the Archdiocese of Chicago to address hunger locally.  Your parish or school can designate your 25% to support your own food pantry or a food pantry or shelter your institution supports.  In addition, you can apply for an Operation Rice Bowl grant.  Last year, 39 food pantries and shelters were given $49,449.66.

This years’ theme is “For I Was Hungry.” Materials are free and include the rice bowl and Lenten calendar, educators’ guide, posters, Coordinator’s Guide and CD-Rom/DVD.  Materials are available in Spanish, English and some materials are available in Polish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.  There are also speakers available for your parish or school.

For more information, feel free to contact me at 312/534-8367 or  Together we can make a difference in easing the suffering in nearly two-thirds of the world and in our city.