During this Lenten season, Bellarmine actively raises funds for the CRS Rice Bowl program. Beginning Ash Wednesday and lasting until Friday, March 17, the Rice Bowl was organized by Catholic Relief Services and collects donations to send to those in need around the world, with an emphasis this year on developing countries. This year, Catholic Relief Services will send donations to countries such as Zambia, Mexico, India, and El Salvador. CRS Rice Bowl also sends aid to the needy in developed countries like the United States and Japan.
For the second year in a row, a Bellarmine parent offered to match the school’s donations up to $5,000. Last year, she matched the total $6,200 collected. This year, Bellarmine collected $5,141.50, or $10,141.50 with the parent’s donation. However, the ten thousand dollars Bellarmine raised only account for active collections, and Bellarmine fully expects to see more money come in by Easter, when CRS Rice Bowl officially ends.
Bellarmine first participated in the CRS Rice Bowl during the 2001 Lenten season. Spearheaded by Mr. Pinkston, the Director of Christian Service, CRS Rice Bowl has been a constant fixture of the Lenten season ever since.
When asked why Bellarmine participates in the program, Mr. Pinkston said, “For the same reason that we have the service requirement. For the same reason that we have the immersion program. For the same reason why we conduct drives like the Lenten Food Drive on Campus. Because as individuals and as a community, we are called to help the least of these.” He went on to say, “As much as you respond and talk with that elderly person locked up in a convalescent home, as much as you respond to that disabled child who is in a special day class or that man or woman with Down Syndrome, as much as you do it to the least of these, you do this to Jesus.”
For Mr. Pinkston, the best way to follow the word of Jesus is to help the least among us. To him, CRS Rice Bowl represents an opportunity to live out the words of Jesus and the Lenten Season. Although we give to the Rice Bowl, people like Mr. Pinkston feel they receive something in return.
Mr. Pinkston also called upon students to question themselves, asking, “Have you ever given a friend a ride? Have you ever loaned a friend a dollar? Have you ever consoled a friend when he was down and out? What do you get from that?” As was emphasized in the Ash Wednesday mass, one may see Lent as more than a season of giving and sacrifice, but also of receiving.