Every year, millions of Catholics participate in Operation Rice Bowl (ORB), Catholic Relief Services’ annual Lenten program that starts Ash Wednesday (Feb. 25, 2009). Each Lent, Catholic parishes and schools from more than 13,000 communities use symbolic rice bowls as the focal point for their prayer, fasting, and learning — and to help people in poverty around the world.
Participants in Operation Rice Bowl make the small sacrifice of preparing simple, meatless recipes each week, putting the money they would have spent on a big meal into symbolic rice bowls. That money goes to support CRS’ mission to fight global hunger and poverty. An Operation Rice Bowl calendar provides daily reflections and learning opportunities — told through the eyes of people helped by the program — that reinforce ORB’s message and mission.
“Having the Rice Bowl as the focal point for their Lenten observance helps families to think beyond their daily realities and to focus on making a difference in the lives of others,” says Beth Martin, program manager for Operation Rice Bowl. “The program also includes an educational component, sharing stories of people from developing countries that benefit from ORB.”
Last year, Catholics raised more than $7 million through Operation Rice Bowl, 75 percent of which is used to fund hunger and poverty projects in 40 countries. The remaining 25 percent stays in U.S. dioceses to support food pantries and soup kitchens.
Since its beginning in 1975, ORB has raised more than $167 million to fund CRS’ development projects. With participation in almost every diocese in the U.S., many communities and families have adopted ORB as a way to observe Lent.
To find out which local communities and schools are participating in this year’s campaign, please contact Kim Pozniak at email@example.com or (410) 951-7281.
Resources for your use, including stories, photos and multimedia, are available at orb.crs.org/.