Operation Rice Bowl grants available to fund local efforts to aid poor, hungry
CHARLOTTE — Grants totaling $8,000 were recently awarded to local efforts to fight hunger and poverty in the Diocese of Charlotte thanks to the annual Operation Rice Bowl campaign, coordinated in the diocese by Catholic Social Services' Office of Justice and Peace. And an additional winter round of grants is now being made available.
Operation Rice Bowl, a national program of Catholic Relief Services, is conducted every Lent, and the little paper change banks are a ubiquitous sign of the almsgiving season for thousands of Catholic children.
Pictured above: Food pantry volunteers at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Franklin (George Gover, Pat Tuscany, Jackie Gover, Peggy Pureber, Michael Nolle, Jessica Matthews, JoAnn Fern, Mary Pleskach, Diane Argenti, Audrey Matthews, Jim Hobin and Ray Fern) are pictured sorting groceries funded in part by an Operation Rice Bowl Mini-Grant and given out during Thanksgiving. (Photo provided by Joseph Purello and Pat Tuscany)
Most of the money collected through the annual Operation Rice Bowl project goes overseas, but some of the funds remain in the diocese to support local efforts of Catholic entities to help people in our communities facing poverty and hunger.
Last November, six $1,000 CRS ORB Mini-Grants were awarded to the parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Hayesville, Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, St. Benedict the Moor in Winston-Salem, St. Francis of Assisi in Franklin, St. Mary Mother of God in Sylva, and St. William in Murphy to support food pantries and St. Vincent de Paul ministries there. Also, Room at the Inn in Charlotte received a $1,000 grant to provide food assistance and nutrition information to expectant mothers, and the Missionaries of the Poor in Monroe received a $1,000 grant to help build a "Greenhouse for the Poor" so that fresh vegetables can be made available year 'round to families in need.
Father Alejandro Ayala, pastor of St. Mary Mother of God Church in Sylva, shared in a note of thanks that the grant would help the parish to have the "opportunity to better help with loving care" and that "many families in will benefit from this grant and have a more comfortable winter season."
A special winter round of CRS ORB Mini-Grant grants is now being offered in the diocese. Applications for up to $1,000 can be submitted to fund good works by diocesan entities that assist the poor and hungry in our communities. Only one grant can be submitted per Catholic entity and grant applications must be reviewed and signed by the pastor of the parish, principal of the school, or director of the diocesan office applying for the grant. A diocesan-based CRS advisory committee assists in the grant selection process.
For more information and to download an application, go to www.cssnc.org/cchdcrs. The postmark deadline for mailing applications is Feb. 15.
— Joseph Purello, director of CSS' Office of Justice and Peace
Get ready for Operation Rice Bowl 2012
The upcoming 2012 Operation Rice Bowl Program begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22. The theme is "For I was Hungry" – drawn from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25. Parishes and schools that wish to participate should call 1-800-222-0025 or go to www.orb.crs.org.