This Lent, show love for our global family with CRS Rice Bowl

February 13, 2024

The Sorto Amaya family show hens they received from CRS' Prospera project, which focuses on food security in Morazán, Ahuachapán and Sonsonate in El Salvador. (Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services)

HOUSTON — This Lent, Catholic Relief Services is calling on Catholics across the country to show their love for sisters and brothers around the world by participating in the annual Lenten program, CRS Rice Bowl.

“Ash Wednesday always marks the beginning of CRS Rice Bowl,” said Beth Martin, CRS director of Formation and Mobilization. “And this year, Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14, or St. Valentine’s Day, and we think CRS Rice Bowl is the perfect way to celebrate the love we have for our global family.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” When we receive Jesus through the Eucharist, our hearts are filled with his love and the call to share that love, Martin said.

During Lent, we are meant to express the love that we feel when we receive the Eucharist through prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” Martin said. “CRS Rice Bowl gives us the means to do that — to put our love into action. Even through a small act such as giving up your daily cup of coffee and, instead, donating that money to CRS Rice Bowl. That small sacrifice — that small act of love — can change the lives of so many people.”

Alms gathered through CRS Rice Bowl primarily go toward hunger and poverty alleviation programs in countries where CRS operates.

However, 25% of those funds stay in the diocese where they are collected. CRS Rice Bowl grants are given to local organizations that prioritize ending hunger and poverty in their communities, according to Hilda Ochoa, director of the Mission Office of the Archdiocese.

In the past, funds have supported local ministries in Galveston-Houston, such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul programs, as well as parish-based groups.

Inspired by the Stations of the Cross, Ochoa said, “We are invited to reach out in compassion like Veronica. Like Simon, we can help others carry the heavy cross of hunger through our donations.”

Catholic Relief Services believes that the 25% of CRS Rice Bowl contributions remaining in the dioceses illustrates the importance of our global responsibility as Christians to assist those in need in the United States and other countries.

The 25% enables participants to understand the plight of those most in need around the world through the experience of poverty in their own communities.

Catholics in Galveston-Houston are set to join nearly 13,000 faith communities in 180 dioceses across the U.S. in practicing the traditional Lenten pillars of spirituality to help our global family.

Together, the Church can support our sisters and brothers around the world while forming families and faith communities to be missionary disciples.

A story from Uganda

Among the many supported by CRS Rice Bowl are Adolf and his wife, Florence, who are farmers in Akwangagwel, Uganda.

The couple is dedicated to fighting hunger so that their family and others in their community can build thriving lives. They do this by farming, which helps their family to eat three nutritious meals a day, and by assisting others in their community to grow successful crops.

Each member of their household has a key role, like gardening, cleaning, preparing meals and caring for the animals. In the evenings, they enjoy spending time together as a family. Adolf is thankful for the free time with his children. In the area where they live, the climate is very dry. Lately, the rainy season has been coming later than it used to. And sometimes, it rains too much all at once and causes flooding.

“It rains so heavily and destroys things,” Adolf said. “So, the goodness of rain is taken away.”

To overcome these obstacles, Adolf and Florence joined a Catholic Relief Services program where they learned new farming methods to grow crops even when it is hot and dry. They planted seeds that grow quickly so that they can still have vegetables to harvest, even in a drought. This provides enough food to eat and to sell at the market for extra income.

“I have seen my children are happy because they are well-fed,” Adolf said.

Because of the successful life that he and Florence have built, they share their new knowledge with their neighbors. As a leader in his community, Adolf works with others to increase their harvests, improve the land, and build a safe and thriving community.

Contact local Catholic schools or parishes to see if in-person or online collections will occur. Direct donations to CRS are accepted online, by phone, or by mail.
To learn more and to order your own CRS Rice Bowl materials, visit