Commit to a Corporal Work of Mercy - Volunteer with CRS!

To celebrate the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis and Archbishop Cupich ask each of us to participate in concrete works of Mercy. One way you can do that: join the work of a local CRS Rice Bowl Grantee.

Part of a local organization that would benefit from a CRS Rice Bowl Grant?

We primarily fund parishes and organizations that emulate the mission and vision of Catholic Relief Services on a local level. In addition to the international emergency aid that CRS provides, CRS has numerous initiatives that promote long-term solutions to poverty and hunger overseas, such as projects focused on restorative justice, agricultural development, micro-lending, Fair Trade enterprises, and hunger prevention initiatives.

Contact Bethany Collins at to learn more about the Grant Program and participate in Rice Bowl during Lent 2017.

Current CRS Rice Bowl Grantees

Benton House - Backyard Botany

Organic, raised bed gardens bring Bridgeport community members together to raise healthy food for their pantry.

Organic, raised bed gardens bring Bridgeport community members together to raise healthy food for their pantry.

3052 S. Gratten Ave, Chicago IL 60608

Backyard Botany is a community garden that grows food in the south-side Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport. This project is a part of a 100+ year old community center called Benton House, and aims to create an agricultural space that community members may not have access to in our urban landscape, while providing new educational opportunities. The garden consists of several raised beds and ecologically sustainable structures and employs the agricultural concepts of permaculture and organic production. All of the food harvested goes directly to the neighborhood food pantry, so community members have more access to nutritious, fresh, and local food.

Broadview Service Center

2000 Roosevelt Rd., Broadview IL 60155

Service Hours: Wednesdays, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

The Broadview Service Center has been serving the community for twenty years, with a mission to provide nutritious food to disadvantaged families in the Broadview community. As a client choice food pantry, Broadview Service Center affirms the dignity of choice, allowing clients to choose the foods that are best for their family.

Casa Catalina Food Pantry

4537 S. Ashland, Chicago IL 60609

Partnered with Catholic Charities and run by Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic parish, the Casa Catalina food pantry provides staple food, coats, toiletries, diapers, baby formula, and school supplies. Casa Catalina also provides assistance with filling our paperwork and applying for social services.

To Volunteer: Get involved as a Catholic Charities volunteer at Volunteer Bridge.

Casa Esperanza Health and Nutrition Project

8801 S. Saginaw Ave, Chicago IL 60617

Casa Esperanza is a transitional housing program serving the women and children of the Chicagoland area. Our mission is to help residents overcome the cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing a safe, stable home and a caring community. Our programming offers opportunity for personal, social and professional development, and fosters independence, helping women achieve self-sufficiency through counseling, holistic workshops and skills-based training.

Through the help of the University of Illinois Extension, the Health and Nutrition project educates participants about healthy lifestyles including making healthy choices, cooking tips, exercise and priorities that they need to set to stay healthy and clean.

Corpus Christi Soup Kitchen

4920 S. King Drive, Chicago IL 60615

*Does not currently accept volunteers.

C.F.S.A.C.G.O. Community Gardens

2640 S. Calumet Ave & 12233 S. Wentworth Ave, Chicago IL

C.F.S.A.C.G.O. organizes community gardens and provides of youth and adult garden education programs, Green- and Agriculture-based business services, and a forum for garden and green enthusiasts to present ideas in the Far Chicago south side. C.F.S.A.C.G.O. works to organize, stabilize, and secure well producing community gardens; as well as aware, astute, quality garden specialists. Family, children, and community are central to C.F.S.A.C.G.O. and the south side sustainable gardeners’ and resource production pioneers' overall success. These principles are what the leaders of C.F.S.A.G.C.O. believe will lead the organization along a path of long term sustainability, and a perma-cultural model of community sustainability.
This year, CRS Rice Bowl funding supports the initial infrastructure for the 2640 S. Calumet Community Garden and an aquaponics systems for seed starts.

Chicago Fair Trade - Fair Trade in the Sanctuary

Volunteer at the Fair Trade Pop-Up Shop: 
November 27 - December 23, 2015
2031 N. Damen Ave, Chicago IL 60647

Fair trade helps people in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty by providing a fair, livable wage and a safe working environment. It also helps to eliminate child labor, and it encourages practices that are sustainable for the earth.

Chicago Fair Trade’s new Fair Trade in the Sanctuary program involves a bureau of fair trade advocates available to share their first-hand accounts of Fair Trade during church services. These advocates bring fair trade to life and bring home the transformative power of fair trade through their powerful and moving stories. Fair Trade in the Sanctuary teaches our faith communities how we can be sure that the materials used in our worship spaces and liturgies--such as textiles and Communion wine--are produced and purchased fairly. By making Fair Trade a part of our Sanctuaries, we put the values that we uphold into practice in our worship.

Volunteer Application: Complete this form so that Chicago Fair Trade can contact you anytime they need volunteers. They have several standing committees, and various tabling events throughout the year at which you can volunteer.

The Cooperation Operation - Rainwater Catchment System

657 E. 114th St., Chicago IL 60628

Based in the Pullman neighborhood, the Cooperation Operation (Coop Op) is a non-profit community organization that transforms vacant urban land into sustainable gardens and spaces for educational and economic empowerment. Coop Op envisions a world where all people have access to affordable healthy food, education, housing, employment, and critical social services.

With the help of CRS Rice Bowl, the Coop Op is installing a rainwater catchment system, recycling water to make the community garden more sustainable.

Dominican University Hunger Banquet

Students work together on a hunger awareness activity during the Hunger Banquet.

Students work together on a hunger awareness activity during the Hunger Banquet.

Dominican University’s annual Hunger Banquet is a dinner event modeled after Oxfam America’s program and draws approximately 175 participants.  It educates, inspires, and creates connections between students and community members to work for hunger relief.  Dominican University has worked diligently to make the Hunger Banquet a creative, fresh experience for participants each year.  The 2015 Hunger Banquet took place on November 18. This year’s external collaboration will highlight the connection between hunger and a living wage for low income workers particularly in the fast food industry.  The Banquet is a feature event in commitment to address hunger locally and globally, and an important part of on-campus promotion of Catholic Relief Services activities, including CRS Rice Bowl.

Franciscan Outreach

1645 W. LeMoyne St., Chicago IL

The Marquard Center Dining Room serves nutritious meals to 100 individuals every night of the year. Marquard Center strives to foster a friendly environment where guest are known by name and encouraged to get to know one another, and speak with our available case managers. Franciscan Outreach hopes to put guests in contact with the resources they need to start building a better life.

Franciscan House is a 257-bed shelter with separate men’s and women’s dorms that has been providing refuge for 30 years. It is located at 2715 W. Harrison Street on Chicago’s West Side, just south of the I-290 expressway.

At the urging of the City of Chicago, Franciscan Outreach assumed management of a 65-bed shelter at 200 S. Sacramento in 2012. Now known as Franciscan Annex, this space prevents vulnerable citizens from being turned back on to the streets.

Fraternite Notre Dame Food Service Program

502 N. Central Ave, Chicago IL 60644

The Fraternite Notre Dame food service program in the Austin neighborhood includes a soup kitchen where a hot, nutritious meal is served daily to adults and children. A weekly food pantry program provides fresh produce and products adapted to each person's needs.

St. Gertrude Food Pantry

9613 Schiller Blvd., Franklin Park


Holy Name of Mary -
Oblate Sisters of Providence Diner

11159 S. Loomis St., Chicago IL 60643

Guests of the Oblate Sisters of Providence (OSP) Diner are residents of Maple & Morgan Park. Eighty percent are unemployed or have incomes below the poverty level. The Diner provides excellent service to guests in an environment that is welcoming and accepting. Using a Nutrition Grant from Greater Chicago Food Depository, OSP Diner is able to provide health and nutrition education as well as a balanced and nutritious hot meal weekly to all who come through the door.

God's Closet and Community Meals - First Lutheran Church of the Trinity

643 W. 31st St., Chicago IL 60616

Heeding the biblical commands to care for the poor, to clothe the naked, and to love one's neighbor as one's self, and recognizing the call of faith to be responsible stewards and caretakers of an increasingly fragile planet, God's Closet at First Trinity strives to provide an alternative source for clothing and other goods in the Bridgeport community. The intent of God's Closet is to provide both resources for those in need in a life-giving way, and a "green" venue for the redistribution and re-purposing of clothing and other goods.

God's Closet is open to the public on the following days and times:
    •    Tuesdays, 5 to 7 pm
    •    Fridays, 10 am to Noon
    •    Sunday Mornings after 10:30 Worship

Volunteer: 312-842-7390 or

Hands to Help

St. John's Episcopal Church
3857 N. Kostner Ave, Chicago

Hands to Help ministry works with neighborhood churches, ministries, and others to strengthen the safety net for neighbors experiencing homelessness and crisis. Some have been homeless for many years and are looking to start over, others are creating plans to exit a violent home, and some are scared of losing their home as they wait for their first disability check to arrive. All look to Hands to Help’s small staff for resources and connections to help them move forward.

Imago Dei

St. Agnes of Bohemia Parish
2651 S. Central Park Ave, Chicago

Imago Dei is an organization for youth development through the arts, created in service of a movement that values equity, fairness and progress in the community of Little Village. In an era of reduced funding for the arts in schools, provides young people with a gateway into the arts, ensuring that the most challenged and underprivileged youth gain access to quality programs unhindered by socio-economic barriers.

An adolescent is more likely to be more comfortable expressing him/herself with some crayons and markers, rather than expressing emotions and feelings through words. Because of this, art can be a much more viable solution for communication rather than simply having a conversation and talking about some of the difficulties they confront on a daily bases. Imago Dei understands that community art is very empowering, it awakens the imagination and stimulates creative energy, self-awareness and social-awareness.

Ignatian Services - Yogurt, the Road to Better Health

6559 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago IL 60626

Ignatian Services is the outreach ministry of St. Ignatius parish and began in 1972. Thanks to CRS Rice Bowl, the Ignatian Services is able to provide yogurt to our food pantry clients. Highly nutritious food like yogurt is particularly important for the many growing children in the Rogers Park neighborhood, since a healthy diet when a child is young improves lifelong health.

Volunteers unload food at St. Ignatius Church.

Volunteers unload food at St. Ignatius Church.

Irving Park Community Food Pantry

3801 N. Keeler Ave, Chicago IL 60641

{With the support of CRS Rice Bowl, the Irving Park Community Food Pantry partners with the University of Illinois Extension Program to provide Nutrition Seminars . . .}

Maria Kaupas Center - Seeds of Change Community Garden

Members of Maria Kaupas Center Work together to plant rosemary for the community garden.

Members of Maria Kaupas Center Work together to plant rosemary for the community garden.

2740 W. 68th St., Chicago IL 60629

According to research, Chicago Lawn is a food desert with limited access to healthy, reasonably priced food.  It also suffers from high unemployment, especially among youth. However, the Maria Kaupas Center (MKC), a Catholic community/youth center hopes to address these conditions in a small way through its project, Seeds of Change.

At the heart of Seeds of Change is a small community garden. MKC members helped design, build, and tend this sacred space.The Rice Bowl grant allowed the MKC to offer small stipends to teens for managing the garden. It also supported a community dinner that served the garden’s harvest and a container gardening workshop that showed that growing food is both easy and fun.

St. Martin de Porres Food Pantry

5112 W. Washington Blvd, Chicago

Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry - Healthy Foods Initiative

848 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60301

Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry provides hunger relief to residents in 12 Cook County zip codes.  In 2014, nearly 46,000 individuals received over 720,000 pounds of food from the Food Pantry.

Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry also builds hunger awareness and education through partnerships with community institutions, and advocates for systemic anti-hunger policy and initiatives at local, state and federal levels.

Service Hours:
Saturdays: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
1st Wednesday: 7:00PM - 8:30PM
2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Wednesday: 3:30PM - 5:00PM

Training Required:
Fill out the volunteer form (click here). Orientation Sessions held 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Food Pantry, 7:00-8:15 pm

Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry

3200 E. 91st St, Chicago IL 60617

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish

708 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago IL 60657

Volunteers from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Chicago serve the “least of our brothers” by bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner to several shelters in the area including Sarah’s Circle, Marah’s Place for Women, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Cornerstone Shelter and St. Paul’s Church. The food is purchased by the parish or the volunteers. On St. Joseph Day in March, Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrates with St. Joseph's Table: a free lunch. Coat Day takes place in October when the parish offers lunch and free winter clothing. Our Lady of Mount Carmel volunteers also visit nursing and retirement homes on a regular basis.

Our Lady of Sorrows - Saturday Morning Hot Breakfast

3121 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago IL 60612

Our Lady of Tepeyac Food Pantry

3047 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago, IL 60623

Volunteer Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am to 4:40 pm
Training required: short, one-time session on how the pantry works

Our Lady of Tepeyac provides a full medical and social service pantry. They offer HIV and Hepatitis C screening as well as blood pressure and blood sugar testing. A benefit screener is present every Friday to enroll people in government services. The pantry also distributes diapers and infant formula, as well as clothes and shoes donated by the sharing parish each Friday.

Parenting for Non Violence

1919 S. Ashland Ave, Chicago IL 60608

P4NV empowers parents with the proven skills and techniques necessary for raising their children in emotionally healthy ways so that their children can survive and thrive personally, socially and academically in today’s world. P4NV strengthens youth, families and communities by building up parent-child relationships so that youth will discuss problems with their parents, commit to school learning, and engage and promote healthy beliefs, standards and peer relationships.

Sacred Heart Church Food Pantry

819 N. 16th Ave, Melrose Park IL 60160

The Sacred Heart Parish community includes Melrose Park and Maywood. The Food Pantry provides food to members of the community whose needs stem from low income, catastrophic illness, unemployment and life events.  The pantry ensures these individuals and families are able to feed themselves and their families.

Service Hours: Saturday mornings

Southwest Chicago PADS

3121 W 71st St, Chicago, IL 60629

To Volunteer: Contact Sr. Norine Burns or Helen Gabel
(773) 737-7070

Southwest Chicago PADS is dedicated to providing for those among us in Chicago who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.

Initially, that means providing essential and immediate aid for guests. From mid-October through April, six nights a week, PADS offers a place to come in out of inclement weather, a change of clothes, access to showers, an evening meal.

Basic services, as well as medical consultations with doctors and nurses, are all provided through the generosity of hundreds of volunteers from local churches, schools, neighborhood and family groups.

Year-round, in one-on–one sessions, three case managers help hundreds of guests find the means to overcome their perilous homeless state. Through counseling, advocacy and referrals, guests set and work on meeting short– and long-term goals to independent living—everything from getting a state ID to dealing with addictions and other medical needs, as well as finding a job and a place to live. For some, this process can be done in a few weeks; for many it can take a considerable time: months, even years until permanent independent living is secured for individuals and their families. Learn more >

St. Anthony Hospital - Wellness that Works

Participants of the Wellness that Works session held at the former Blessed Sacrament Rectory in the summer of 2015.

Participants of the Wellness that Works session held at the former Blessed Sacrament Rectory in the summer of 2015.

2875 W. 19th St, Chicago IL 60623

Saint Anthony Hospital’s Wellness that Works program increases the knowledge of good nutrition and the benefits of physical activity among adults of the North Lawndale community. The program helps adults lead healthier lifestyles.

Wellness that Works has held four, 12-class sessions over the last 10 months, reaching a total of 40 adults. Saint Anthony’s parish nurse leads the two-hour classes that include lectures, discussions, demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions, physical activities, and health screenings. Graduates of Wellness that Works receive a six-month membership to the Lawndale Christian Fitness Center.

St. Barnabas-St. Gall District 9 Food Pantry

10134 S. Longwood Drive, Chicago IL 60643

St. Gall Parish hosts one of the 44 St. Vincent DePaul food pantries in Cook and Lake Counties, and has served the Gage Park and surrounding neighborhoods for more than 20 years. Volunteers from St. Barnabas partner with St. Gall’s parishioners in staffing and administering the pantry. The pantry serves more than 200 families each week; during the holidays, this number often exceeds 1,500 families.

Families gather at the St. Barnabas-St. Gall food pantry.

Families gather at the St. Barnabas-St. Gall food pantry.

St. Blase Food Pantry


To Volunteer: Get involved as a Catholic Charities volunteer at Volunteer Bridge.

St. Columbanus Food Pantry

331 E. 71st St, Chicago IL 60619

The St. Columbanus Food Pantry’s mission is to serve individuals and families in our community by providing food to fight hunger, remaining committed to ending food insecurity in the Park Manor and Woodlawn neighborhoods.The food pantry provides fresh produce, meat and dry goods to close to 500 households every week.  With the help of dozens of volunteers, the St. Columbanus Food Pantry continues to make a positive difference in our community.

St. Edward - St. Vincent de Paul Food Relief

4350 Sunnyside Ave, Chicago IL 60630

St. Edward Parish's St. Vincent de Paul Society provides emergency food to families in the parish, especially at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Parish volunteers and donations make this possible.

St. Eulalia Community Helping Others (ECHO)

1845 S. 9th Ave, Maywood IL 60153

St. Irenaeus Summer Lunch Program

78 Cherry St, Park Forest, IL 60640

The St. Irenaeus Summer Lunch program provides meals five days a week to children of the neighborhood who receive their lunches at school during the year. The local public library provides personnel to read to the children twice a week and gives books to the children to encourage reading during the summer. Art, music and exercise programs are also provided whenever possible.

St. Ita - Food Coupons

1220 W. Catalpa Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

St. Joseph Church - Aldi Food Vouchers

114 N. Lincoln Ave, Round Lake IL 60073

St. Leonard Food Pantry

3318 Clarence Ave, Berwyn IL 60402

St. Leonard Parish is located in Berwyn--an economically diverse city. St. Leonard Food Pantry responds to those neighbors whose income does not suffice for all their nutritional needs. Food is provided to hundreds of low-income people or families who have suffered job loss, are in low-paying jobs, on Social Security Disability, or experiencing homelessness. At the same time the pantry provides an opportunity for parishioners who are blessed with resources to put their faith in action; sharing their time, talents, and treasure with their neighbors in need.

Service Hours: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 3:00 pm

St. Mary Parish - St. Vincent de Paul Society

10 N. Buffalo Grove Rd, Buffalo Grove IL 60089
847-541-1450 (ask for the St. Vincent de Paul Hotline)

Service Hours: 3rd Saturday of each month, 8:30 - 11:00 am

Sts. Peter and Paul Food Pantry

12433 S. Halsted, Chicago IL 60620

St. Rita Church - Food Certificate Program

6243 S. Fairfield Ave, Chicago IL 60629

St. Sabina / Catholic Charities Social Services Center

1120 W. 79th St, Chicago IL 60620

Service hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

To Volunteer: Get involved as a Catholic Charities volunteer at Volunteer Bridge.

The St. Sabina center serves as a community based social service agency which provides concrete assistance to meet the basic human needs of individuals and families whose lives have been disrupted by unplanned events such as a domestic crisis, fire, unemployment, relocation or who for any reason are in need of emergency food and/ or clothing. Read more >

St. Thomas of Canterbury Soup Kitchen

4827 N. Kenmore Ave, Chicago IL 60640

Volunteer Hours:
Tuesdays & Fridays, 3:30 - 7:00 pm

St. Thomas of Canterbury provides meals to the local community in an atmosphere of hospitality and peace. The Soup Kitchen is open every Tuesday and Friday throughout the year, except on Christmas Eve/Day, serving 120 to 170 neighbors each time. The doors are open to guests from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Volunteers assist with preparing food, setting up tables and chairs, serving the meal, and cleaning up.

Please see the website for more information on volunteering with St. Thomas of Canterbury.

St. Thomas More Food Pantry

2825 W. 81st St, Chicago IL 60652

St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen

1010 W. Webster Ave, Chicago IL 60614

Guests share a meal at St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen

Guests share a meal at St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen

The vision of the St. Vincent DePaul Outreach Commission is to provide for those in need with hope and self-esteem in a safe, caring environment. We rely entirely on the generosity and kindness of individuals to support our efforts. In addition to financial support that is always needed, there are other ways to help advance our ministry. 

Donations of supplies are always needed as well as volunteers to join our team. Our Ongoing activities include: Daily Sandwich Window ; Weekly Food Pantry; Monthly Special Meals; Quarterly Assembly of Hygiene Materials; Christmas Gift Program ; Holiday Food Drives; Seasonal Collection of Gloves, Hats and Socks; Annual School Supply Drive; and Annual Hunger Walk participation.

A Zacchaeus House guest on his college graduation day.

A Zacchaeus House guest on his college graduation day.

Zacchaeus House

12242 S. Parnell Ave, Chicago IL 60628

Founded by Bishop Joseph Perry and a group of Catholic Deacons in 2002, Zacchaeus House is a non-for profit, non-treatment residential facility, providing a faith to work home for men who are experiencing homelessness and in transition. The ministry is staffed and supported by Catholic Deacons and Deacon Candidates, with their wives from the Archdiocese of Chicago with an emphasis on spiritual development, church attendance and developing life skills.

Residents are guided towards God’s grace and merciful acceptance of them, recovery of self-esteem and recognition of the fundamental dignity of all human life. Residents live at Zacchaeus House for up to two years while they work towards independent living by finding jobs, learning trades or going back to school. All residents work one on one with their own Deacon mentor and meet with the House Director to develop goals and life skills.  

Zacchaeus provides for a safe and secure environment, food, clothing, order, and peace while offering opportunities for sharpening life skills, learning and working on basic health care and spiritual maturity towards achieving responsible and independent living. Each Zacchaeus House guest is accompanied throughout his time of transition, even as he moves into his apartment. He is supported with essential needs such as bus cards, food gift cards and emergency financial support as he regains full self-sufficiency.