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CRS Rice Bowl FAQ

What is Catholic Relief Services?

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.

We are motivated by the example of Jesus Christ to assist poor and suffering people in 93 countries on the basis of need, without regard to race, religion or nationality.

CRS is efficient and effective. In 2013, 92 percent of our expenditures went to CRS programming that benefits poor people overseas. Our programs touch more than 100 million lives.

What is CRS Rice Bowl?

Celebrating its 40th year, CRS Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities. Through CRS Rice Bowl, we hear stories from our brothers and sisters in need worldwide, and devote our Lenten prayers, fasting and gifts to change the lives of the poor.

How did it all begin?

40 years ago, Catholics in the United States wanted to respond to famine in Africa. Could we feed the hungry through Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving? The answer was yes—and it came in the form of a small cardboard box under the name of “Operation Rice Bowl” in the diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania. 40 years later, CRS Rice Bowl is your way to help our brothers and sisters in need each Lent. Now, over 13,000  faith communities across the United States participate in CRS Rice Bowl each Lent  - praying, fasting and giving to change the lives of others. And now, there’s an app for that, too!

What is a CRS Rice Bowl?

A cardboard or homemade CRS Rice Bowl is a tool for collecting your Lenten alms; the CRS Rice Bowl app also allows you to do this – from your own mobile device.

Where can I get a CRS Rice Bowl?

Dioceses, parishes and schools around the country order CRS Rice Bowls and Lenten calendars for their communities. Check with your parish or school to find out when CRS Rice Bowls will be distributed.

If your faith community is not participating, you can print your own CRS Rice Bowl and Lenten Calendar.  Or download our mobile app to get all of this – and more – on your mobile device.

How do I turn in my donation?

Check with your parish or school about how your community will be collecting donations and return your Rice Bowl on the designated collection date.

You may also submit your gift online, or on the CRS Rice Bowl app,  or simply send a check to:

Catholic Relief Services
CRS Rice Bowl
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21297-0303

Where does the money go?

Driven by our faith, we are committed to help those in need no matter where they may live. In that spirit

75 percent of your gift supports CRS’ programs around the world. Some examples include:

  • Agriculture projects help farmers improve harvests
  • Water and sanitation projects bring clean water to communities
  • Microfinance projects support small businesses
  • Mother and child health projects offer health and nutrition services
  • Education projects provide resources and training

25 percent of your donations go to hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in your own community. Each diocese uses this differently. Contact your local CRS Diocesan Director to find out how the local 25 percent is used in your diocese.