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.
- 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.