“Ration Challenge” Asks Americans to Eat the Same Rations as Refugees

May 6, 2019


May 6, 2019

“Ration Challenge” Asks Americans to Eat the Same Rations as Refugees in New National Campaign for Refugee Awareness

“Every time I open up a can of sardines, I am taken back to my childhood in refugee camps”- former refugee

New York, NY—Launching for the first time in the United States, the global Ration Challenge campaign, in support of Church World Service (CWS), asks Americans: Can you live for a week on the same rations that a refugee survives on, get sponsored and show refugees you are with them, not against them?

CWS, a faith-based organization supporting refugees, immigrants and displaced persons since 1946, kicked off the campaign this month with in Durham, N.C. with a Ration Challenge food truck “takeover,” where local residents got a taste of the food included in the ration packs. Americans can sign up to take the Challenge—which takes place from June 16-22 during the week of World Refugee Day–by visiting http://bit.ly/RC-USA-Join. Participants will be sent their box of rations for the week while supplies last, along with resources for fundraising and raising awareness in the weeks leading up to the Challenge.

Co-founders of the Ration Challenge, Kaz McGrath and Ben Littlejohn, started the Ration Challenge in 2014 during a visit to a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, where they met with refugees and saw first-hand the rations refugees had to survive on.

“It was tough, really tough,” McGrath said reflecting on her first year doing the Ration Challenge. “But we were only experiencing one small part of what refugees experience every day. It opened our eyes to how difficult it is to be a refugee and gave us a new respect for people around the world who are doing it so tough.”

Though globally, the number of refugees is at a record high of 25.4 million, fewer than one percent are ever resettled– and that number is dropping. Life in refugee camps is a sustained reality for most refugees fleeing to safety.

“The Ration Challenge is about more than rations,” said Mary Catherine Hinds, director of Fundraising Strategy for CWS. “While it brings attention to the conditions faced by refugees and helps participants start conversations, the funds Challengers raise will provide tangible support to refugees throughout the world.”

Funds raised by Ration Challenge in the United States will provide food rations, medicine and education for Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan; and support the ongoing work of CWS to help vulnerable people rebuild their lives in safety. While eating rations is only one small glimpse of the incredible hardship many refugees face around the world, the Ration Challenge has proven to be an effective way to raise critical support for displaced people around the world. More than 40,000 people in Australia and New Zealand have taken the challenge so far, raising more than $7 million to support refugees. This year the challenge will also be taking place in the UK.

In the months to come, thousands of Americans will take part in the Ration Challenge in support of CWS and refugees around the globe. http://bit.ly/RC-USA-Join