A nationwide Lenten tradition – Operation Rice Bowl – began in the Diocese of Allentown 46 years ago.
Operation Rice Bowl combines prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help those in need in our Diocese, and around the world.
The way it works is simple: Families eat a simple meal one day a week, and place the money they would have spent on a more elaborate meal in the Operation Rice Bowl container at their parish.
One-quarter of the funds remain in the Diocese to help those in need locally, and the balance is contributed to hunger relief efforts nationwide and in 100 countries around the world, distributed by Catholic Relief Services.
In its 45 years of operation around the country, Operation Rice Bowl has collected nearly $300 million to feed the hungry.
Together with a rabbi and three ministers, Monsignor Robert Coll, pastor emeritus of Assumption BVM, Bethlehem, who is now retired, first organized Operation Rice Bowl as an interfaith response to the African drought of 1974-75. It was adopted by the Catholic Church nationwide the next year.
During Lent, Catholics are called to prayer, to fasting, and to almsgiving, which means donating money or goods to the poor, and performing other acts of charity. Operation Rice Bowl is an ideal way to help fulfill this calling.