It’s difficult to understand what hunger is if you’ve never experienced it. And I’m not talking about the hunger you feel before lunchtime.

I’m talking about not being able to eat for days, sharing the only meal you’re given for the day with five other people, or holding your brother in your arms as he dies from malnutrition.

That hunger.

Thomas Awiapo knows what that feels like. Growing up in Ghana he would go days without eating. He didn’t even know there was a meal called “lunch.” On a good day he would successfully scavenge for dinner, which he’d have to share with his brothers.

But they never really ate enough. Thomas’ younger brothers all succumbed to malnutrition. Thomas cradled his youngest brother in his arms as he slowly fell asleep and never woke up. But Thomas survived. He changed from a child who was staving daily to a healthy and successful member of his community.

How did this happen? It was from the quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies dropped in CRS Rice Bowls during Lent. His story shows how the small amount you sacrifice during Lent makes you a member of this global community that’s able to feed the most poor and vulnerable in our world.

And CRS Rice Bowl’s prayers, daily readings, simple meals and videos deepen that experience.

If you want to have a wider worldview, do CRS Rice Bowl. Help build a global community of justice and hope for all of us.

Watch this video to see how a very special cardboard box transformed Thomas.

Thomas Awaiapo, Catholic Relief Services beneficiary, now member of CRS Ghana.

To participate in CRS Rice Bowl, download the mobile appmake your own CRS Rice Bowl or take the #VivaLent photo challenge.

Written by Melissa Stevens

Copyright 2014 Catholic Relief Services