By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
The diocesan Office of Social Action’s CRS Rice Bowl breakfasts have helped kick-start record collections in recent years. They believe parishes are now ready to start organizing pre-collection events of their own, and thus expand the outreach.
Instead of hosting three regional breakfasts in the diocese, the Social Action Office would like to offer assistance and ideas for parishes, or groups of parishes, to organize their own educational brain-storming sessions for the annual Lenten collection.
Kent Ferris, diocesan director of the Social Action Office, said this could mean hosting a presentation at an existing event, as Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine plans to do. During a monthly Lenten family rosary night potluck, parishioners will watch a CRS Rice Bowl informational video and make some of the ethnic recipes offered in the CRS Rice Bowl materials. Or, parishes that often work closely together could meet up to discuss ideas for increasing Rice Bowl collections.
Loxi Hopkins, a volunteer in the Diocesan Social Action office, said Rice Bowl offers youths an opportunity to plan a project and/or increase awareness of Rice Bowl in the community. Hopkins would also like to see parishes reach out to organizations in their community that have benefitted from Rice Bowl grants and ask them to offer testimonies at a meeting or event. When people see how the donations are being used locally, it can really fire them up, she said.
Each year, 25 percent of Rice Bowl donations stay within the Diocese of Davenport, with the remaining 75 percent being used to fund hunger-eradicating CRS efforts around the globe.
The Social Action office can be reached at (563) 324-1911.