Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and disadvantaged outside the country and works under the auspices of the U.S.C.C.B. Catholic Charities coordinates the Parish Rice Bowl Collection and staffs an ad hoc committee which advises the diocese on the distribution of local funds, which are a percentage of the overall collection. A soup lunch for the Diocesan staff housed in the Pastoral Center has become a yearly tradition to raise awareness of global poverty.
Contact: Ken Bresnan
Parish Outreach Liaison
Local groups awarded grants through Operation Rice Bowl
Operation Rice Bowl provides an opportunity for individuals and families to make a positive difference in the lives of people around the world who struggle with hunger and poverty. It provides Catholics with an opportunity to live out the central themes of Lent by praying with their families and faith communities, fasting in solidarity with those who don't have enough food, learning about the joys and challenges in the lives of our brothers and sister around the world and giving sacrificial contributions to assist the poor.
To read more about grant opportunities, click here.
Global Advocacy Team (GAT)
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is assisting with the formation of a new team of Catholic advocates in the Diocese of Des Moines whose mission is to "serve as a grassroots collective Catholic voice for the poor and vulnerable overseas, promoting smart and effective policies that address the root causes of conflict, hunger and disease. Motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life around the world.”
The team meets on the last Tuesday of every month at 6:30PM at the Catholic Pastoral Center in downtown Des Moines. Contact Ken Bresnan at 515-237-5089 for more information.
The Global Advocacy Team has been active advocating for sufficient funding in the proposed Farm Bill to keep our international and national food assistance programs at their current level. The team is exploring ways to raise awareness of the situation in Cuba, The Holy Land, Nigeria and Syria.
The Global Advocacy Team is urging support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as it urges Congress to Protect Poor and Vulnerable as Debate on Budget Continues. Bishop Pates regularly communicates the Conference’s positions to congress.
“The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources. The bishops stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity,” .
The bishops support preserving programs that help the poor and vulnerable, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”), poverty-focused international assistance programs, and funding for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.
The bishops also offered three moral criteria to guide budgetary decisions:
• Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
• Every budget proposal should be measured by how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25).
The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
As Chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, Bishop Pates has sent the following letters to congress and Secretary of State Kerry:
Letter to Congress on Budget Protection for the Poor
Letter to Secretary of State Kerry