CRS Rice Bowl

CRS Rice Bowl is the Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services, the official relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Through CRS Rice Bowl, faith communities in dioceses throughout the United States put their faith into action through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Lenten alms donated through CRS Rice Bowl support the work of CRS in more than 100 different countries each year. Twenty-five percent of donations to CRS Rice Bowl stay in the local diocese, supporting hunger and poverty alleviation efforts. Since its inception in 1975, CRS Rice Bowl has raised more than $320 million.

What is a CRS Rice Bowl?

CRS Rice Bowl is a staple on the table of Catholic families across the country during Lent. This simple cardboard box is a tool for collecting Lenten alms—and comes with a Lenten calendar that guides families through the 40 days of Lent with activities, reflections and stories.

We invite you to learn more about the Rice Bowl Program and to read stories of how the program assists families throughout the world visit CRS Rice Bowl website.

Does the CRS Rice Bowl assist the Churches in the Diocese?

Yes, Saint Maximilian Kolbe has received grants in 2020 and 2022 from the CRS Rice Bowl collection to purchase food for our food pantries.


Lenten Rice Bowl campaign begins

By Peter G. Sánchez, Staff Writer

Published in the Catholic Star Herald on February 23, 2023

As Ash Wednesday arrived Feb. 22, parishes and schools throughout the Diocese of Camden will once again be asked to distribute Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowls to support those who are living with hunger and poverty throughout the world.

Adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1976, the Operation Rice Bowl campaign has supported more than 190 million hungry and malnourished people across 100-plus countries throughout its history.

“The past year has been hard on so many families around the world,” said Beth Martin, CRS’ director of Formation and Mobilization, noting that ongoing conflicts, extreme weather events and widespread inflation have made it more difficult for families to put food on their tables.

“We’ve seen an increase in global hunger because of a kind of perfect storm of multiple factors. CRS Rice Bowl is a great way for U.S. Catholics to show our sisters and brothers in these difficult situations that they are not forgotten, and that we will continue to stand in solidarity with them.”

Participating dioceses receive 25 percent of collected funds to aid local programs that feed the hungry and help alleviate poverty. Last year, with the familiar cardboard boxes placed in homes, parishes and classrooms, the Diocese of Camden collected $90,099.59 for the Rice Bowl campaign and received back $23,524.90.

Among those who benefited from last year’s campaign was Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish’s food pantries in Woodbine and Marmora. These pantries fed 1,784 families in 2022, said coordinators Jacqueline Olansen and Sara Bartleson.

“The Rice Bowl grant continues to assist the parish in providing families with nutritional food including a protein, milk, cereal and eggs each week as well as vegetables, pasta, and peanut butter and jelly,” the coordinators said.

“Our clients are grateful for the food we provide and for the caring support they receive as well. With continuing support from the Rice Bowl grant, private donors and donations from our parishioners, our food pantries will be able to serve those in need in our local area.” 

To learn more about the global communities served by the program, find meatless recipes from around the world and print do-it-yourself Rice Bowl labels, visit