Taking the Ration Challenge

Picture of my food weighed out for the Ration Challenge in support of refugees

Food for a week on the Ration Challenge

Ever think you might have bitten off more than you can chew?

That’s me, right now. Only in my case, it might be rather less than I can chew.

This week, I signed up to take the Ration Challenge for the charity Concern Worldwide (UK), highlighting the desperate issues facing refugees.

The Ration Challenge involves living on the same rations for a week as a Syrian refugee in Jordan. Turns out that’s not very much. Not very much at all.

Meanwhile any money I raise in sponsorship will go towards food, medicine and education for Syrian refugees plus Concern’s wider work tackling hunger and extreme poverty.

If you could spare anything, I’d massively appreciate it, so many more boxes of food can be distributed to people in dire need. Ever hopeful, my fundraising page is my.rationchallenge.org.uk/muchmorewithless


picture of the food in a Ration Challenge ration pack - lentils, rice, tin sardines, oil, chickpeas, tin kidney beans, vouchers for rice and flour

Ration Challenge ration pack

What’s in a Ration Pack?

The Ration Challenge launched for the first time in the UK this year, and so many people signed up that the organisers ran out of ration packs to send out.

Instead, I was emailed a shopping list. Actually, I think buying my own supplies is a good thing, because then more of the charity’s money goes to refugees.

This is the shopping list:

1.92kg white rice

400g plain flour

170g lentils (red or brown)

330ml vegetable oil

85g dried chickpeas

400g tin of kidney beans

120g tin of sardines

People who don’t eat fish can swap the sardines for the same weight of a vegan or vegetarian alternative.


That’s it. A shedload of rice plus a little flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish and oil. And only water to drink – though I’m immensely grateful to have clean mains water on tap.

No meat, no coffee, no alcohol. I asked my nine-year-old what was missing from the list, and he said “Pretty much everything”.

Yet that represents the food given to a refugee to last for a week –  if they’re lucky enough to get a ration pack at all.

What can you add to the Ration Pack?

In an interesting twist, the organisers are using self-interest to help drive fundraising.

Anyone who earns more in sponsorship can add extra items to the basic ration pack. The official line is that refugees are resourceful, and seek out ways to earn extra money to support themselves and their families.

So if you sponsor yourself, you can add unlimited quantities of a single spice (not a spice blend though!)

Raise £125: salt

Raise £250: one vegetable, weighing up to 170g

Raise £400: 120g protein

Raise £600: 330ml of a hot or cold drink

Raise £850: a bonus item up to £3. Must be a single item, not a mix of ingredients or multiple items in a pack. So no biscuits!

You can also earn a teabag each time you email 5 people about sponsorship, or tag five people in social media posts. So this is advance warning to friends and family that you might end up with an email…

There are also rewards if you work as a team, so if anyone is insane enough to join the challenge too, do let me know! More details here.

Screen grab of resources page for the Ration Challenge in including meal planner and recipe book

Resources for the Ration Challenge

Taking the Ration Challenge

I only signed up for the Ration Challenge on Thursday, inspired by the sterling example of Sue Hall over at Challenging Myself (and previously Our New Life in the Country).

I am incredibly grateful to the fellow bloggers and complete strangers who have sponsored me so far, but I’m still running to catch up. The challenge starts tomorrow, running from 16 to 23 June to coincide with Refugee Week, and I haven’t even hit the salt stage yet (eek). I still need to get my head round the resources including the recipe book and meal planner.

Weighing out the basic rations yesterday really made it hit home quite how little food this is to last a week.

I’ve cut our food bills down before, but nothing like this. It’s actually less than the Live Below the Line challenge that was the original reason I started this blog. Honestly? I’m worried about getting through this one, and if it wasn’t for the sponsorship I’ve raised so far I’d be seriously tempted to drop out. And yet I am unbelievably, incredibly lucky that the Ration Challenge is only 7 days for me, with a roof over my head, fuel, cooking equipment, access to clean water and healthcare and everything else I take for granted.

My week is looking bleak, but it’s immeasurably worse for the millions of refugees worldwide. 


Now – over to you. Any tips on taking the Ration Challenge? I could do with all the help I can get!



Conditions in the refugee camps are even worse during coronavirus, so I’m doing the Ration Challenge again from 13 to 19 September. 

If you might consider sponsoring me, here’s my fundraising page for Concern Worldwide UK. Anything you can spare helps  to provide food, education and medicine for refugees: https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/faith-archer


Check out my other posts about the Ration Challenge 2019:

First day of the Ration Challenge

You know you’re taking the Ration Challenge… 

Meals on the Ration Challenge


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  1. 15th June 2019 / 5:49 pm

    Gosh Faith, Respect… I’m not sure if at the end of it I would be most desperate for a coffee, a drink or some broccoli…

    The website says that is 1,730 calories a day.

    What are the recipes like? Some form of flatbread I guess?

    • Faith
      16th June 2019 / 10:57 am

      Recipes do indeed include flatbreads, plus stuff like congee (rice porridge), crepes, rice bread, lentil soup and mujadara, a lentil and rice dish. Most, I suspect, would be improved a lot by extra veg and flavourings!

  2. Thrift Deluxe
    23rd June 2019 / 5:09 pm

    No suggestions but I did once spend a summer with only enough money to buy a pint of milk a week plus a cupboard with rice, oil, sugar, salt, popcorn kernels, frozen peas (not in the cupboard obviously!) and teabags. Not much fun but sometimes it happens.

    • Faith
      1st July 2019 / 11:59 am

      Woah. That must have been tough. Could you face eating any of those again afterwards?

      • thrift deluxe
        2nd July 2019 / 9:07 am

        I didn’t eat much rice for about 6 or 7 years afterwards, I just couldn’t face it, didn’t put me off peas though for some reason!

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