This year marks the 40th anniversary of CRS Rice Bowl, the largest and oldest Lenten program used by millions of Catholics across the United States known for its iconic and symbolic cardboard “rice bowl.” The program has evolved over multiple generations to become a tradition for Catholic families, parishes and religious educators. Since its inception, millions of Catholics have contributed alms totaling $250 million to support efforts that fight poverty and hunger in dioceses across the U.S. and overseas.

“When we step back and consider that this paper rice bowl has made it possible to give real, life-saving assistance to so many, we see the power the 40 days of Lent have produced over the last four decades,” said Joan Rosenhauer, executive vice president of U.S. Operations for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). “It’s the right time to step forward and fill each Rice Bowl with $40 and make a lasting change for those who need our help.”

Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention to the plight of hunger and poverty around the world. He said, “the scandal that millions of people suffer from hunger must not paralyze us, but push each and every one of us to act: singles, families, communities, institutions, governments, to eliminate this injustice.” People looking for a way to respond to this call will find CRS Rice Bowl is a proven and robust response.

For people like Thomas Awiapo from Ghana, the power of CRS Rice Bowl is quite tangible. His destiny was altered as a young and hungry orphan — who lost two brothers to starvation — when he was welcomed into a school where lunch, funded through CRS Rice Bowl, was served. “You can call me the poster child for CRS Rice Bowl but we’d be closer to the truth if you called my children your poster children,” he said “They have never experienced hunger in their lifetime, and today they attend university, high school and secondary schools without missing a beat.”

The event will be held on Friday, March 6, at St. Monica Catholic Community, 725 California Ave. The schedule is 6 – 9:30 p.m. Dinner with Roll’n Lobster, Farmers Belly, and Woody’s Grill Food Trucks, 6:30 p.m. Stations of the Cross, 8 p.m. Free Concert and Program.

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