Charity projects in Rome and Bulgaria
Every year during the six weeks of Lent, Churches Together, an ecumenical body comprising 11 mainly English-speaking churches in Rome, raises money for the annual Rice Bowl Appeal.
Throughout its three-decade history the Rice Bowl Appeal has traditionally focused on funding programmes other parts of the world, such as this year's project helping orphans and disabled children in Bulgaria. However, prompted by Pope Francis's appeal to support the poor and disadvantaged in Rome, this year the churches have decided to raise money for the refugees at the city's JNRC, which is housed in the crypt of St Paul's Within the Walls.
The world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis in 20 years according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), with Italy one of the nations most affected. The UNHCR said that in the first six months of 2013 an estimated 7,800 migrants and asylum seekers landed on the Italian coast.
Since 2001 Bulgarian Child, Inc. has been helping to support the 20,000 children living in state-run institutions in Bulgaria. The children’s needs range from food, clothing, heating and medicine, to more specific requirements such as surgery, special needs equipment, and supplementary personnel in the homes, as well as post-institution training programmes and short-term residential facilities.
The idea behind the Rice Bowl initiative is to encourage people to eat less for one meal a day during the 40 days of abstinence leading up to Easter and to donate the money saved. In addition to donating at the churches, this year people can get involved by joining a sponsored 3-km walk in Villa Borghese on the afternoon of 13 April.
Donations can be made until 27 April at the 11 participating churches:
All Saints' Church, Via del Babuino 153B
Church of Sweden, Via Bertoli 1E
German Lutheran Church, Via Toscana 7
International Christian Fellowship, Via XX Settembre 88
Ponte S. Angelo Methodist Church, Via del Banco di S. Spirito 3
Rome Baptist Church, Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina 35
St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Via XX Settembre 7
St Paul’s Within the Walls, Via Napoli 58
St Patrick’s Church, Via Boncompagni 60
St Silvestro Church, Piazza S. Silvestro
St Susanna, Via XX Settembre 15
For more details about the Rice Bowl Appeal see the St Paul's Within the Walls website.