Merkle Response Management Group (RMG) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Celebrate 13 Years of Partnership on Nationwide CRS Rice Bowl Campaign

Thursday, March 3, 2022

14,000 Catholic communities will receive 3 million rice bowls in this 47-year annual initiative

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – March 3, 2022 — Merkle Response Management Group (Merkle RMG), a subsidiary of Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, marks its 13th year providing order processing, contact center and fulfillment support for Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) annual Rice Bowl program. In January, Merkle RMG and CRS distributed nearly 3 million sets of program materials to 14,000 Catholic parishes nationwide in support of CRS’ initiative to fight global hunger and poverty. 

CRS Rice Bowl is a core program of CRS, an international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community that assists people in need in over 100 countries. Taking place each year during Lent, the program invites Catholic families in the U.S. to learn about families overseas who are experiencing poverty and hunger. Through their school or parish, millions of U.S. families receive a cardboard collection box—known as a “Rice Bowl”—that they fill with alms throughout Lent. These monetary donations support CRS programs in targeted countries. 

Beth Martin, director of Mission and Mobilization campaigns at CRS, commented on Merkle RMG’s role in distributing Rice Bowls to millions each year.

“As one of our longest-running U.S. programs, CRS Rice Bowl is critical to our larger mission to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas,” said Martin. “Since 2009, Merkle RMG’s cost-effective, high-quality, and comprehensive services have allowed us to supply millions of families with the program resources they need to impact the lives of others.”

Each year, the Rice Bowl campaign ( spotlights the stories of families from three different countries. The collection box comes with a Lenten calendar and a variety of meatless Lenten recipes from each country. All program materials are updated with new content each year and are available in both English and Spanish. With nearly 3 million Rice Bowl items to distribute before Lent, CRS relies on Merkle RMG’s expertise in high-volume order processing and fulfillment to ensure the materials are picked, packed, and shipped correctly and on schedule. 

“The items ordered and the quantities of each that need to be fulfilled vary for each of the 14,000 orders we process, so accuracy is critical,” said Merkle RMG President Kent Grove. “It also requires a highly coordinated approach to order capture, customer service, and bulk fulfillment. Merkle RMG works closely with CRS at every stage of planning and production to ensure a seamless, timely operation. By keeping our services efficient and scalable, we help the CRS Rice Bowl team manage their high-volume distribution requirements with less cost and a high level of quality.”  

In addition to fulfillment support, Merkle RMG provides contact center services to receive and process Rice Bowl orders from participants across the U.S. Merkle RMG also supports CRS with data management and reporting, equipping both teams with insights that inform strategic decisions throughout the year-long production cycle. 

“Because of our long history working in tandem, Merkle RMG is able to help us anticipate and proactively address our operational needs for the upcoming year,” said Martin. “Merkle RMG’s account managers intimately understand our mission, and their tailored, strategic guidance has directly contributed to our success over the years.”

About Merkle Response Management Group

Merkle Response Management Group (RMG) is a processing, data, and technology-driven company. By combining best-in-class direct-response processing, customer care, and fulfillment solutions with actionable data insights, Merkle RMG drives one-to-one relationships for an improved donor and customer experience that increases retention and revenue. Applying best practices learned during 39 years in business, the company employs a high-tech/high-touch approach that helps minimize costs while ensuring a high level of donor and customer satisfaction through fast, accurate, secure, and responsive service that is tailored to each client’s requirements and strategic objectives. RMG serves more than 200 clients in the nonprofit, government, and commercial markets. For more information about Merkle RMG, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @MerkleRMG.

About Merkle

Merkle, a dentsu company, is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With more than 14,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit

About Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

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 or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


Kite Hill PR for Merkle
Bridget Callahan

Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services