40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: CRS Rice Bowl

March 1, 2009

Lenten Activities

Here we go with your next Lenten activity!

Note: In 2013, Operation Rice Bowl was renamed CRS Rice Bowl by Catholic Relief Services.


CRS Rice Bowl

  • Bring in 100 pennies and place them on a table in the center of the group.
  • Tell the young people to imagine that these pennies represent all of the earth’s resources and wealth.
  • Ask for 10 volunteers to represent the world’s population.
  • Divide the pennies in the following manner (according to United Nations statistics):
    • 20% (2 volunteers) get to share 85 pennies
    • 20% (2 volunteers) have to share only 1 penny
    • 60% (6 volunteers) have to divide up the remaining 14 pennies
  • Point out that 20% of the world’s population enjoys 85% of the world’s wealth and abundance.
  • Explain that most people in the United States can be included in that top 20%.
  • Ask if anyone can name the three “disciplines” of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
  • Point out that almsgiving (alms refers to money, food, or other goods donated to charity) is one of the ways that we strive to share God’s abundance with those less fortunate than ourselves.
  • Introduce the young people to CRS Rice Bowl (Catholic Relief Services), the official Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services. Explain that CRS Rice Bowl offers Catholics in the United States a way to connect with our brothers and sisters overseas.
  • Provide a “rice bowl” – a small carboard collection box – (contact CRS in advance to get a “rice bowl” for each child, as well as other resources to support CRS Rice Bowl) for each of your students and encourage them to contribute to it throughout the season of Lent.
  • Designate a date (perhaps during Holy Week) when the rice bowls will be collected.

Operation Rice Bowl

  • Catechists can use this as an opportunity to help children to understand the concept of solidarity, one of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

40 Ideas for 40 Days

Download the PDF version of this activity.

40 Ideas for 40 Days

Check out all of the activities for Lent.

, , , ,

2 Responses to “40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: CRS Rice Bowl”

  1. Larry Says:

    This years rice bowl came with an added note that gave us an actual destination for our alms. The monies will go to needy children in Bangladesh where about 36% of the population lives on less than $1 a day and many children make up the work force.

    My daughter and I decorated a coffee can on which we wrote “Change for Christ”.
    I have had it in the class room for several weeks. I explained how churches use to have Poor Boxes in the back (some still do) where you deposited your pocket change on the way out of church. I have challenged them not only to fill their rice bowls but to fill the coffee can.

    I like the 100 penny plan and will use that to explain how important it is for us to share our wealth.

    Thanks for your ideas and your website. God Bless!


Leave a Reply