A History of CRS Rice Bowl at Mitty

Over fourteen years, Campus Ministry has forged a strong relationship with CRS to introduce new programs while remaining a leader in old standbys.


Home is concerned with what happens outside its own walls. In it you may find people who are generous, outward-looking, and act to resolve injustice in the world.”

— Chidubem Nwosu


These are the words junior Chidubem Nwosu used to describe “home” at the April All-School Assembly. It is hard to deny that Mitty is a generous place. This fall, we raised about $10,000 for Bay Area residents in need through Harvest Pack; additionally, through the Period Poverty Drive spearheaded by Chidubem, we collected over 13,000 individual menstrual health and hygiene items. But any overview of what makes Archbishop Mitty generous would be incomplete without talking about the CRS Rice Bowl campaign each Lent.

Though CRS Rice Bowl may seem as central to the spirit of Archbishop Mitty as Monarch Madness, it actually wasn’t until 2008 that the program first appeared at Mitty.

 The effort to bring Operation Rice Bowl—as it was then known—to Mitty began in the winter of 2007 with the work of the Global Solidarity Club. A predecessor of the Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP) moderated by religion teacher Mrs. Megan Walker and Deacon Steve Herrera, the Global Solidarity Club focused on solidarity with and awareness of the marginalized in the world. 

Because of his work lecturing on social justice up and down the West Coast as a CRS Global Fellow, Deacon Steve Herrera was deeply familiar with Operation Rice Bowl and led the effort to bring it to Mitty. Over the winter of 2007, Deacon Herrera and Mrs. Walker worked with Campus Ministry Director Steve Scott to set up the drive, determining both its scope and promotion.

At the end of Lent 2008, Operation Rice Bowl was enormously successful—not only in raising money, but also in opening avenues for conversations around the dinner table—and the program easily became a mainstay on campus.

Over the drive’s fourteen years, Mitty students have contributed over $10,000 annually to support aid abroad and locally, with 25% of the funds raised staying local. Meanwhile, Campus Ministry has centered global issues in liturgies and MAP has advanced legislation on CRS priorities like immigration and hunger before the U.S. Congress. Because of Mitty’s financial and spiritual dedication to CRS’s efforts, the school has been designated a platinum level Global Education school.

Being a platinum level school brought Mitty leadership into closer contact with CRS representatives. In 2011, Mitty was featured in a nationwide Rice Bowl promotional video. This close partnership was highlighted when CRS Ambassador Thomas Awiapo come to Mitty in March 2020 to speak on the effect of CRS’s relief programs on his life in Ghana.

Throughout the years, Mitty’s work with CRS has grown beyond the Rice Bowl. In 2018, Mitty collaborated with CRS to host a soccer game with refugees from CRS’s Refugee Foster Care Program and Mitty students. Campus Ministry Director Mr. Wesmiller reflects, “it made those kids feel—and even our kids feel—like this is such a special event. We asked kids who are soccer players, we even asked kids who aren’t soccer players, and they all just had a blast.” The program, like the Rice Bowl before it, was so successful that it was repeated in the spring of 2019 alongside other schools in the diocese.

And in the fall of 2020, Mitty’s work with CRS came full circle, with MAP inaugurating its new International, Networking, Curriculum (INC) team as a pilot school in the CRS High Schools Program.

This was the culmination of much close work with CRS. Mrs. Walker, who had been a part of introducing the Rice Bowl to Mitty, said that “[CRS representatives] were always curious about what we’re doing and at a couple of different conferences in Washington, DC, I talked about the Mitty Advocacy Project and how we were trying to develop the skills for students in high school,” so much so that CRS decided to bring their college advocacy programs to the high school level for the first time in 2020. 

In 2022, justice concerns have come to the forefront for many students as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions from their homes. Former Campus Ministry Director Mr. Scott reflects about Mitty students’ generosity: “There’s so much suffering in the world and so much pain that’s examined in your religion class or in history class; you then read about, you know, refugees, and you hear about people that are suffering in so many ways. Not everything that should be done can be done, but it is a small, easy thing that students can do to be in solidarity with those in need.”