By Jeffrey Mu ’24
Around campus, students may find small containers in the shape of a square rice bowls where they can donate money towards helping those in need, standing in solidarity with those with just a single bowl of rice to eat, every day. So what are the origins behind the CRS Rice Bowl, what does it stand for, and why we do we donate every year? This week, we talked to Mrs. Descourouez, assistant director of the Christian Service program at Bellarmine about the rice bowl and her experiences managing it in the past few years.
Mrs. Descourouez – Assistant Director of CSP
Q. Could you tell me more about the CRS Rice bowl going on this month?
A. Of course! CRS Stands for Catholic Relief Services. Each year, we invite students and families to be a part of the global movement to end poverty. Many of the people that CRS reaches out to are living on the margins. They serve 194 million people worldwide in a 100 different countries who don’t have a meal to go home to everyday. We think it’s a great opportunity for Bellarmine students to be involved and a great opportunity to find stories of hope, reaching out to millions of people and inviting people like students in Bellarmine who are privileged to eat every day to be in solidarity with people around the world who just have a single bowl of rice.
Q. How are funds going to be raised for the rice bowl?
A. Besides the rice bowls around campus where you can donate directly, in the last week the Agape club hosted a CRS rice bowl fundraiser. They sold a simple bowl of steamed rice so that Bell students could eat with people around the globe who only have that much food. The club also hosted a pancake breakfast that was done on Fat Tuesday, which was the day before Ash Wednesday. So all in all, the Agape Club has been active in promoting the rice bowl and creating funds.
Q. Where do these funds go?
A. All funds raised by the CRS program will go towards providing those less fortunate than us with meals. 75% of the money will go towards a global outreach program, and 25% of the money stays right here in our diocese. We love especially that CRS will serve anyone; you don’t have to be Catholic to get funds from them and they serve a diversity of people.
Q. Where can Bellarmine students learn more about the program?
A. A great place to find more information about the CRS Rice Bowl would be to check out their website: crsricebowl.org. There you can find statistics as well as stories on the people that CRS are helping. Besides that, we are also fortunate to have the CRS ambassador Thomas Awiapo come every 4 years to share his story about how a simple bowl of rice saved his life. There’s a great video on Blue where you can check that out. (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB1g3-czZH0)
Q. How long has Bellarmine been part of this program?
A. Bellarmine has been part of this program for 20 years.
Q. How did Bellarmine first get involved with CRS?
A. Since CRS is a Catholic organization, we were aware of their great work and wanted to partner with them so that we could help others.
Q. How is your experience as the manager of CRS rice bowl?
A. I love CRS rice bowl here at Bellarmine and how students and family, faculty and staff are so generous. I’ve been working here for 10 years and the generosity continues every year. Students and families participate in this global outreach to end hunger, bringing people together to partner with them to make this a better world. It really is an honor. Also, the CSP team is a great partner, and we work together to provide educational opportunities for our students to become involved in being men for and with others!
Q. Thanks so much! Anything else you would like students to know?
A. We’d love for students to donate to the rice bowl! If they aren’t able to donate, they can open up their hearts in prayer for the people on the margins, another way for them to be a part of the program. I would also encourage each student to check out the website (linked below) to learn more about what they do and how they do it, and to check out the stories of hope. There’s a lot going on in the world that is challenging, and to find stories of hope to find our brothers and sisters and to stand in solidarity with them is a great opportunity!
So there you have it folks! The CRS Rice Bowl always welcomes donations, no matter big or small. And be sure to check out their websites for the stories one can learn. In addition, students can also choose to be a part of the outreach program by participating in the fundraising, letting others know about the program.