Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Corporal Works of Mercy -- Feed the Poor
One of my suggestions in my Lenten Activities post was to talk to your children about almsgiving. The definition by catholicreference.net of alms is: "Material or financial assistance given to a needy person or cause, prompted by Christian charity. Almsgiving is recognized by the Church as one of the principal forms of penance, especially since the mitigation of the laws on fast and abstinence."
Lent is traditionally a time of saving for the poor, and forty days is plenty of time for even young children to see their contributions mount -- even if it's just pennies. And, if you are teaching the Corporal Works of Mercy, this is a perfect learning opportunity -- our children don't often have the opportunity to truly feed the poor.
It is in this spirit that I direct your attention to Operation Rice Bowl. Many of you probably remember Operation Rice Bowl from your grade school days, and if you have children enrolled in Catholic day school (or even CCD), you probably have seen materials for this charity recently.
Operation Rice Bowl fits all of the criteria for my family's charitable donations, which is why I bring it up. We all have priorities for charitable giving, and feeding the poor may not be on your priority list, which is perfectly fine.
However, if feeding the poor is one of your priorities, consider saving your coins for Operation Rice Bowl. Firstly, they are a Catholic charity, which means your funds will not be used for culture of death programs (i.e. abortion and euthanasia). Secondly, only six percent of Catholic Relief Services (Operation Rice Bowl's parent) funds are used for administrative and fund-raising costs. This is a figure much approved of by my Catholic fundraiser husband.
If you are in a Catholic parish that has a school, you can likely obtain some Operation Rice Bowl materials for collecting your coins. You can also download some resources here. I simply printed the picture of the precious little girl on the website and taped it to a mason jar. Also, check out this page, where you can take virtual tours and find recipes from Third World Countries -- a great educational cooking opportunity.