Women in Ghana carry carry water in large basins on their heads.

Give Alms Over Lent: Collection Cup Craft

Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. Can you imagine how thirsty he must have felt?

Sadly, many people are thirsty right now. In developing countries around the world, many families go all year without clean water. These families drink water from muddy rivers, streams and pits. Sometimes, these water sources dry up during the dry season, from May through November.

This Lenten season, you can get into the spirit of almsgiving by making a paper water cup using the origami pattern and instructions below. Use your cup to collect the money you will donate to help poor families in developing countries this Lent. But first, let’s meet one of the children who will be impacted by your support.

Miriam’s Story

A teenage girl collects dirty water from a hole in the ground.
Miriam wants to work in the medical field when she grows up. But right now, the biggest thing holding her back is the impact of drinking contaminated water.

Meet Miriam, a girl living in Kwenje Village in Zambia. Every day, Miriam helps her mother collect water. They walk one hour to fill up buckets of cloudy, dirty water from a hand-dug pit. During the dry season, Miriam has to walk even farther to find water. As the Lenten season begins, please remember the hardships girls like Miriam face .

As you make the almsgiving collection cup with your family, remember to pray for Miriam and the other children in Kwenje Village. Miriam has fallen behind in school because collecting water leaves her little time to study or do homework. The dirty water also gives Miriam terrible stomachaches.

“When we are sick from the water, we miss school, so it makes it hard for us to achieve our dreams,” Miriam said. “I pray for a good life free from illness and evil.”

Make Your Own Collection Cup

Miriam collects water from a contaminated pond, but we want to provide her with the priceless gift of access to clean water. This Lenten season, to give Miriam the gift of being able to collect clean water, let’s collect alms in this origami paper cup.

Materials Needed

To get started, you will need:

  • A large, square piece of paper. If you have a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, you can cut the bottom off to make all edges the same length.
  • Your own two hands!


  1. Take a large, square piece of paper and turn it so it looks like a diamond.

  2. Fold the diamond in half to form a triangle.

  3. With the long edge down, fold the left corner diagonally across the center so the tip meets the right edge.

  4. Repeat step 3 for the right corner, folding it diagonally across the center so the tip meets the left edge of the triangle. It should overlap the side you folded in step 3.

  5. Fold the front-top corner down toward you.

  6. Fold the rear-top corner backward away from you. Use your fingers to widen the opening at the top to complete your cup. Decorate the outside to remind you of what we celebrate during this holy season.
Folding instructions for an origami paper cup.
This origami paper cup is the perfect activity to kick off Lent!

Did you make a collection cup? We would love to see how you decorated it! Tag us @crosscatholic on Instagram or Facebook.

Donate to Make a Difference


Family Discussion

  1. Miriam walks about two miles from her house to the nearest water source. How many steps do you think it takes to go from your bedroom to get a cup of water?
  2. What are some ways that having clean water makes life easier?
  3. How does it make you feel knowing that many families in Zambia and Malawi don’t have clean water to drink?

Closing Prayer

End with this prayer for generosity from St. Ignatius:

Dear Lord,
teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and
not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.

Make Cross Catholic Outreach Your Lent Charity

This Lent, Cross Catholic Outreach ministry partners are providing material and spiritual aid to families around the world, but we need your help. As you pray, fast and give this Lenten season, would you consider making a gift to Cross Catholic Outreach to support our work in developing countries? Browse our Easter Catalog for other giving opportunities that include clean water wells, safe housing, providing education, and meeting the most urgent needs of children and families.

Give Alms to Make a Difference

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.