CRS Operation Rice Bowl mini-grants now available
In the Diocese of Charlotte, the promotion of Catholic Relief Services programs such as disaster response, fair trade and Operation Rice Bowl is coordinated by Catholic Social Services' Office of Justice and Peace. CRS is the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. bishops and the U.S. Catholic community, operating in more than 100 countries.
More than $86,000 was raised last spring by diocesan parishes and schools to support the response of CRS partner Japan Caritas to the devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster. The people of the diocese have generously responded to special CRS appeals for disaster assistance after such calamities as the Haiti earthquake of 2010, the Southeast Asia tsunami of 2004, and the massive flooding caused in Central America in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch.
During Lent, 52 parishes and five Catholic schools in the Diocese of Charlotte participated in Operation Rice Bowl. While $32,506 of the ORB funds raised this year went to CRS's international office in Baltimore for its overseas work, $10,835 has remained in the diocese to support local Catholic efforts to address food insecurity and poverty through the CRS ORB Mini-Grant Program.
For example, a grant to St. William Church in Murphy last year helped support an outreach ministry of its faith formation program to the local Head Start Program. Youth volunteers from St. William Church Faith Formation Program filled about 40 brown bags each week with nutritious foods such as breakfast bars and fruit. These bags were then taken to the nearby Head Start Program so that children from low-income families would have healthy food to take home with them for the weekend.
Mini-grant applications for up to $1,000 in funding can be submitted for such good works as food pantries, meals for the homeless, and community gardens for the poor. A diocesan-based advisory committee, chaired by Deacon Edward Konarski from St. Charles Borromeo Church in Morganton, assists in the grant selection process.
Go to www.cssnc.org/cchdcrs to find the CRS ORB Mini-Grant guidelines and application as a PDF document. The postmark deadline for mailing grant applications is Oct. 15. Only one grant can be submitted per Catholic entity, and grant applications must be reviewed and signed by the pastor, school principal or director of the diocesan office applying for the grant.
— Joseph Purello, Special to the Catholic News Herald
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