Operation Rice Bowl, an annual giving program that began in the Diocese of Allentown 48 years ago, is a great way to answer the Church’s call for almsgiving during Lent.
Operation Rice Bowl has grown into a national and international effort that 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 give the money they would have spent on a more elaborate meal to Operation Rice Bowl.
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.
Parishes in the Diocese of Allentown will either distribute Operation Rice Bowl containers to each family, or will place bowls in church to collect weekly donations.
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. View the video message about Operation Rice Bowl from the Vicar General of the Diocese of Allentown, Monsignor David James by clicking here.