Media CenterAs Hunger Increases Worldwide, CRS Rice Bowl Provides a Way to Connect with God and Serve Our Sisters and Brothers Overseas Simultaneously

Photo by Geela Garcia for CRS

You are here


Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Feb. 22, 2023 – With ongoing conflicts, extreme weather events and widespread inflation making it more difficult for families around the world to put food on the table, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) invites Catholics across the United States to pray, fast and give alms through its annual Lenten program CRS Rice Bowl, which begins today, Ash Wednesday.

“The past year has been hard on so many families around the world,” said Beth Martin, CRS’ director of Formation and Mobilization. “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.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we often forget the last words he says to the innkeeper, “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.” He gives freely and wholeheartedly in equal measure to the need of the one whom he serves.

“As Catholics, we are called to serve those in need,” Martin said. “We are called to be the Good Samaritan and give freely. Almsgiving through CRS Rice Bowl is a way for us to heed God’s call and help those overseas and in our home community at the same time.”

While CRS Rice Bowl donations go primarily to CRS programs around the world dedicated to ending hunger and poverty, 25% of the funds stay in the diocese where they are collected. As families in the United States struggle with increases in the cost of living, supporting these same efforts here at home remains of vital importance.

“By making a small sacrifice during Lent, Catholics and others of goodwill can be part of a larger movement to combat hunger not just globally, but here in the United States as well,” Martin said. “CRS Rice Bowl can unite us, and when we come together to combat a problem, we can achieve far-reaching, ambitious goals like bringing global hunger to an end.”

In past years, schools and parishes participating in CRS Rice Bowl have held in-person events to collect donations saved during the Lenten season. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parishes established online community giving pages and several more are actively developing new donation pages. CRS Rice Bowl participants are encouraged to reach out to their local parishes to determine whether in-person collections will occur, or if they should donate via a new community giving page online.

Direct donations to CRS are always accepted online, by phone or mail.


By Phone:

  • Call 877-435-7277 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and tell the operator that the gift is for CRS Rice Bowl.

By Mail:

  • Please write “CRS Rice Bowl” on the memo line of your check and mail it to:

Catholic Relief Services
Attn: CRS Rice Bowl
P.O. Box 5200
Harlan, IA 51593-0700

CRS Rice Bowls can be ordered in quantities of 25 at Materials designed for families, parishes, elementary and middle school students, high school students, universities and dioceses are also available.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Online Tools:
CRS Online Press Room:

Public Relations Strategist

Brittany Wichtendahl
February 22, 2023

Brittany Wichtendahl is a public relations strategist for Catholic Relief Services, out of Baltimore. Drafting press releases for secular and Catholic news media, Brittany also crafts pitches to help publicize CRS's work. She writes op-eds for placement in national print publications, and monitors news outlets for stories related to CRS and CRS programming.

Brittany is a graduate...More