Rice Bowl: putting something aside for the poor

BRIDGEPORT—The Lenten Rice Bowl program with its familiar Rice Bowl donation boxes began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, in all parishes throughout the diocese.

The CRS Rice Bowl has become  a staple on the table of Catholic families across the country during Lent. The colorful 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.

The Rice Bowl campaign is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, the Church’s official relief and development agency of the United States Catholic Bishops. It  provides emergency assistance and global humanitarian aid to those in need.

“The number of those who face food insecurity, a lack of clean drinking water or adequate housing has dramatically increased because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic,” said Bishop Caggino, who serves as chairman of the board of CRS.

“During the most difficult and trying time in the lives of people around the globe, I urge people to put something aside for the poorest and most vulnerable in the world. It is a Lenten sacrifice that will bring hope and sustenance to many of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,” Bishop Caggiano said.

Once again this year, Bishop Caggiano has asked Father Michael Boccaccio, director of Pontifical Mission Societies Office of the diocese, to coordinate this year’s Lenten Rice Bowl effort.

Father Boccaccio said Catholics in the United States have the ability to turn Lenten sacrifice into a gift. By giving something up, like that daily cup of coffee and putting the money into the Rice Bowl donation box, they can feed the hungry across the world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our entire world. Even in the US, we have seen food lines expanding and food pantries emptying. Joblessness is historic and many families have lived with suffering and death.”

“This is an opportunity to walk in the sandals of our faith family in the developing world. Hunger, thirst, illness, homelessness, etc. are everyday realities under ‘normal’ conditions—let alone the constant threat of being imprisoned, persecuted and killed,” he said.

Father Boccaccio said donations make a difference overseas and here in the United States, with 75 percent going to CRS programming in targeted countries and the remaining 25 percent staying in the diocese to feed the hungry.

“I encourage you to participate in this most important program and invite your parishioners to do the same,” said Father Michael Boccaccio in a recent letter.

Father Boccaccio has asked people across the diocese to invite co-workers, family, friends and neighbors to check with your parish or school to find out when CRS Rice Bowls will be distributed.

Lenten Rice Bowl materials are also available and free in English and Spanish at: or People can also send donations directly to the Pontifical Mission Office of the Diocese of Bridgeport, 238 Jewett Avenue in Bridgeport, 06606.

(For more information, please contact Father Boccaccio at: or: 203.416.1447.)