• CRS Rice Bowl Encounter Tour: Learn How CRS Rice Bowl Saved Thomas Awiapo’s Life

    A day in the life of Thomas Awiapo. Thomas was orphaned before the age of 10 and survived bleak poverty and hunger in this small village. He was raised by his father’s second wife after his mother and father died of tropical disease. At age 12, his search for food led him to a school where CRS – with funds contributed through the CRS Rice Bowl program – was providing lunch. Because of this food, Thomas survived and continued school, earning a master’s degree. Thomas works for CRS and trains community leaders throughout Ghana.

    Saturday, February 18, 2017  9:30 am – 2:35 PM

    Catholic Charites Outreach Center (9020 W. Atlas Drive Homosassa, FL 34448)

    Thomas Awiapo tells a truly inspiring story of survival and success. Orphaned before the age of 10, Awiapo survived bleak poverty and hunger in his small African village. At age 12, his search for food led him to a school where Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – with funds contributed through the CRS Rice Bowl Lenten program, was providing lunch. The school that served him food also helped Awiapo develop an appetite for education. He went on to attend university in Ghana and eventually earn a master’s degree in administration from California State University, Haywood. 

    “That school food program existed because of the little box we call rice bowl,” said Thomas Awiapo who travels to the United States each Lent to share his remarkable story of survival. “My children have never known hunger and it’s because CRS Rice Bowl gives all of us the power to change lives for the better.”

    Awiapo worked for CRS in Ghana for 14 years where he trained community leaders throughout the country. He lives Ghana with his wife and four children.

    He is speaking to audiences around the United States this Lent, sharing his story and showing how participation in CRS Rice Bowls brings compassion to the work of stopping hunger and poverty around the world. His story of initiative and his joyful presence has brought inspiration to thousands of people around the U.S.

    Thomas Awiapo will be in Homosassa on February 18, speaking at the Catholic Charites Citrus Outreach Center. Awiapo will speak at about 10:45 am. Beginning at about 12:20 pm, Thomas and the participants will pack 10,000 meals to be shipped to Burkina Faso, a county in West Africa. Due to climate change and drought, Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

    For more information about the event, please contact Sabrina Burton Schultz, Director of Life Ministry for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, at 813-246-6916.

    Catholic Relief Services has worked in Ghana since 1958. Our largest programs there are designed to benefit children by providing support for education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and people living with HIV and AIDS.


    Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, InstagramPinterest and YouTube.