By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)Catholic Relief Services begin “Operation Rice Bowl” this month to raise money to feed the hungry around the world.

Following a blessing on Tuesday, the cardboard rice bowls were given out so they could be used to raise money to feed those in need. This is the 37th year of the program which encourages people to set aside a day a week to eat a meal from a poverty-stricken country.

“We invite them to take the difference of what our normal meal may cost and offer that as a sacrificial offering to be in solidarity with those around the globe,” explains Maureen McCullough, Regional director of Catholic Relief Services.

Participants also learn about the featured countries which this year include Vietnam, Madagascar, Zambia, India and El Salvador.

“The real beauty of this program is that it connects local and global needs. It benefits people here in Philadelphia and around the globe where Catholic Relief Services work in so many countries,” McCullough said.

Last year’s effort in the Philadelphia Archdiocese raised more than $300,000 with 25 percent staying in the community, helping to feed local residents.

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