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6/3/97 Rice bowl emphasis added to SBC hunger offering

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For more than 15 years, thousands of churches have used the “rice bowl” to raise awareness and funds for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund. Rice bowls are small plastic banks which resemble a bowl of rice.
The Christian Life Commission recently began actively promoting the use of rice bowls, adopting the unique hunger product through an agreement with Rice Bowls, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that previously was the sole marketer of the product.
Rice bowls arose from the vision of Alastair Walker, former pastor of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S.C., and former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. He is also president of Rice Bowls, Inc.
While visiting India, his heart broke for the starvation he witnessed. With the support of numerous churches, the rice bowl ministry was born. More than $1 million was raised for world hunger in South Carolina alone in the rice bowls’ first year. Estimates run as high as $30 million raised through the rice bowl ministry during the last 15 years.
Said Steve Nelson, director of hunger concerns for the Christian Life Commission, “God has clearly used the rice bowls in a mighty way to raise support for the nearly 300 hunger ministries sponsored by Southern Baptists both at home and abroad.”
Noting the relatively low cost of the rice bowls, Nelson said the funds generated by the bowls should not diminish giving to any other special offerings.
“It is a great way for the church to do something together, with the participation of each family member. Lives can be so easily saved through just a small amount,” he said, noting $1.49 will feed a famine victim in North Korea for one month.
In explaining how rice bowls work, Nelson suggested a four-step plan.
“Churches order rice bowls, which come 50 to a box, and give one bowl to each family. The family places the bowl in a prominent place in the home, such as on the kitchen table. On a predetermined Sunday, possibly World Hunger Day in October, all rice bowls are turned in with the proceeds designated for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund. The church can then reorder rice bowls and start the process again.”
Rice bowls and various other hunger materials are available by contacting the Christian Life Commission at 901 Commerce St. #550, Nashville, TN 37203; phone, (615) 244-2495; fax, (615) 242-0065; e-mail, [email protected]
Nelson emphasized 100 percent of proceeds received by the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund are used for hunger ministry, with nothing taken out for administration or promotion.
Countless reports verify the claim that hunger ministry opens the door for sharing the gospel, Nelson said, noting an agricultural training effort in India resulted in the start of more than 400 new churches.
“It is our prayer that God will bless this effort mightily as Southern Baptists demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to those in need,” Nelson said.