Ration Meal Challenge
On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, over 80 students rallied together to get a taste of what life is like for those who are forced to live on rationed meal plans. The event was co-sponsored by Andrews Filipino International Association (AFIA) and ADRA Canada to give students an opportunity to experience the diet of a refugee.
“I spent my summer working for ADRA Canada and felt impressed to bring their fundraiser, the Ration Meal Challenge, to Andrews University for students,” said Kayla Casey (senior, sociology), one of the event coordinators. “AFIA gladly jumped on board to host this fundraiser to help give students the opportunity to participate in what it may be like to eat as a refugee for 24 hours. Overall, it was exciting to see the student body come together to participate in going hungry to help end hunger and bring a light to those who face it every day.”
The guidelines were simple: each participant was given one meal ration package, which contained three nutrient bars, labeled breakfast, lunch and dinner. The students were challenged to limit their food consumption for the day to just these three bars.
“I was profoundly disturbed by this experience. The idea of eating solely to survive made me angry. And the fact that people actually live in that reality made me even more angry,” said Jessica Stelfox (junior, psychology).
In addition to experiencing the hardships of the less fortunate and solidifying a sense of gratitude for the multitude of nourishment opportunities we have here at Andrews, students were also encouraged to raise awareness of their participation on social media, with aims of gaining sponsorship and donations, all of which will go towards feeding the families who live off of these kinds of meals perpetually.
“We thought it was quite fitting being able to do the challenge right before departing for home to celebrate Thanksgiving Break, as people would be consuming large amounts of food,” said AFIA President Emma Magbanua (junior, English).
The event seemed to be a success overall and upward of $400 was raised, which is enough to feed five people for a year. The fundraiser will be ongoing through the end of December for those who wish to donate and make a difference in the lives of others. As those funds will change lives off campus, lives on campus will continue to be changed as well.
Carlyle Tagalog (junior, psychology, pre-dentistry) said, “The Ration Meal Challenge definitely does not compare to the actual refugee experience. That's why I considered myself a semi-refugee that day. However, it does invoke awareness, prayerfulness and gratefulness within me (fitting for the Thanksgiving season). I must be grateful for what I have right now and mindful of what others may not have as well, and I still have the first dinner in my bag as a reminder.”