Geoff Peters, Flickr Creative Commons.
CINCINNATI -- Crossroads Church hopes its beans and rice week can change the world one spoonful at a time —starting at home.
The non-denominational Christian church has been on a mission the past two years, urging those in the Tri-State to relinquish normal eating habits for seven days.
Last year, the organization experimented with beans-and-rice week during which members were asked to substitute beans and rice for their regular meals. Then they were asked to donate the difference of their regular meal costs to the church. Crossroads estimated the beans-and-rice meal runs about 25 cents per person per meal.
CINCINNATI -- Crossroads Church raised nearly half a million dollars in seven days in an effort to combat the heroin epidemic and poverty facing the Tri-State
As part of the second annual beans and rice week at Crossroads Church, members were asked to sacrifice normal eating habits for one week and substitute their favorite dishes for rice and beans. The average beans-and-rice cost per meal is about 25 cents. Members were asked to save and donate the difference of their regular meals to the church in an effort to "change the world" one spoonful at a time.
The non-denominational Christian church announced during Easter Sunday service that they raised $497,975.77 within seven days simply by changing their eating habits. The funds raised this year is $120,939 more than the money raised during the campaigns first year. And that's not all of it.
Last year, the campaign was solely confined to Crossroads members. This year, 29 other churches in the area participated. The totals from the other 29-area churches have not been calculated yet and are not included in the near, half-million dollar total.
The money will be donated to four initiatives:
On Friday, the Ohio Department of Health reported a 37 percent increase deaths tied to heroin overdoses. The Department of Health said 680 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, up from 426 deaths in 2011.
"It's like that semester in college when you only ate Slim Jims," is a campaign slogan from Crossroads Church for the 2014 rice and beans week, which ran April 5 to 13. It's cheap, it keeps your system going and it saves money. But not only is it saving money, they hope this year the program can save lives through their collective donation.
The organization spent about $10,000 to launch the campaign last year. The church's end goal in 2013 was to raise $150,000 to disburse to three organizations across Cincinnati. It raised $377,036 within a week. The funds were donated to Compassion International, City of Cincinnati pools and the Strive Partnership to better the lives of children in the Greater Cincinnati region.
The Crossroads Facebook page is filled with members' beans and rice photos; some even vowing to maintain their commitment by having a beans and rice night once a week to save up for next year.
"Mixing things up a bit. Eating cheaply to richly bless those less fortunate," read a post from Amy Courtney. Another Crossroads member, Korinne Morrison wrote "Eating weird this week to help our city! #beansandriceweek ."
Those who participated turned plain beans and rice into family meals -- making soups, enchiladas, salads and more.
Jen Sperry of Crossroads said the organization didn't set a goal this year as the forecast from last year was well over what they expected. She "encourages other churches to participate" in future endeavors and that they are currently awaiting the totals from the combined churches which will be released next week.