Operation Rice Bowl collection a success
Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community founded by the U.S. bishops in 1943, received $41,875.54 from this year's Diocese of Charlotte Operation Rice Bowl (ORB) Lenten collection.
Fifty-eight parishes and missions of the Diocese of Charlotte and seven diocesan schools participated this year. The amount raised was more than 25 percent greater than last year's amount.
Operation Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services' Lenten program that began in 1975 in the Diocese of Allentown, Penn., as an ecumenical response to the drought in the African Sahel. For more than 35 years, CRS' Operation Rice Bowl has offered U.S. Catholics a way to connect with our brothers and sisters in need around the world through the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Nearly 13,000 faith communities across the U.S. participate in the program each Lent to demonstrate solidarity with the poor at home and around the world. (Learn more at orb.crs.org).
An example of one local collection effort was St. Patrick School in Charlotte, which raised almost $1,500 for Operation Rice Bowl through several projects last Lent.
Under the leadership of educator Lisa Lehmuller, who is also the librarian at the school, students focused on education, prayer and almsgiving with students in kindergarten through the fifth grade. As part of the curriculum, the students made life-sized paper dolls of children dressed to represent the people of the countries they studied, and then decorated shoe boxes as "prayer boxes," into which students placed prayer intentions each week during Lent. The older students also learned about micro-loans, small businesses for women in developing countries, and much more.
Younger students studied the countries where Operation Rice Bowl sends aid, along with their food insecurity issues and how they could help – emphasizing solidarity with the poor.
Not all of the money raised through Operation Rice Bowl goes overseas. This year, $13,958.51 from the ORB collection will be distributed locally in the Diocese of Charlotte's ORB Mini-Grant Program coordinated by Catholic Social Services' Office of Justice and Peace to fund local hunger and poverty relief projects sponsored by diocesan entities.
In the last round of CRS ORB Mini-Grants, held in February, 12 grants totaling $9,025 were dispersed to 10 Catholic parishes for such projects as food pantries, homeless shelters, street meals, community gardens, and weekend food assistance projects for children from low-income households. Parishes from the following places received grants: Andrews, Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Greensboro, Hendersonville, Murphy, Thomasville and Wadesboro.
One recent ORB grant recipient was Immaculate Conception Parish in Hendersonville, for its "Feed the Kids" project. This effort, a coalition of about 12 churches in Hendersonville, provides food to needy students particularly outside of regular school hours when food insecurity is often a bigger problem. Church members involved with "Feed the Kids" shop, cook and serve a meal to the students to enable them to have healthy meals to start their weekend.
"We at Feed The Kids, and more especially Immaculate Conception, are very grateful to the diocese and Operation Rice Bowl for their generous grants, which enables us to continue this worthwhile ministry," said Peg Costigan, a parishioner involved with the project.
The diocese's postmark deadline for the receipt of applications in the next round of CRS ORB Mini-Grants is Oct. 15. Guidelines, eligibility criteria, and applications are available online at www.cssnc.org/cchdcrs.
— Catholic News Herald
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy