Horsham woman to support Syrian refugees by living on their rations for a week
Charlotte Young will take on the Ration Challenge in September to fund emergency food, hygiene kits and lifesaving support for refugees and other vulnerable communities who have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 25-year-old said: “I think this pandemic has highlighted to me how important and vital this global issue is.
“A few weeks ago, our local supermarket shelves were bare, and this is the reality of what some people are living with every day.
“I know this will be both physically and emotionally draining, but that’s the point in the challenge – to show us how other people live.
“I think that is what will push me through the week – the thought that there are people around the world who live like this every day, and that their ‘Ration Challenge Week’ won’t end on September 19. This is their life.”
From the moment she wakes up on Sunday, September 13, to when she goes to bed on Saturday, September 19, Charlotte will drink only water and eat just 420g of rice, 170g of lentils, 85g of dried chickpeas, 400g of tinned kidney beans, 330ml of vegetable oil. 120g of tofu (instead of sardines), 1.5kg of rice, 400g of flour and a spice of her choice.
She can also win rewards through fundraising. When her donation amount reaches £125 she can add salt, at £250 she can add 170g of a vegetable, at £400 she can have 120g of a protein of her choice, £500 she can enjoy one hot or cold drink (330ml) and when her total reaches £850 she can choose an item worth up to £3.
For every five people who sponsor her, she can add a tea bag to her pack.
Charlotte said: “This is my first time doing the Ration Challenge, and my initial thoughts when I first saw the pack was how small the portions were and the lack of variety in textures and flavours.
“It is truly devastating to think that people live on these rations, day in and day out – and coronavirus means many more now face devastating hunger.
“I’m preparing by using these foods in my day-to-day life and acclimatising to how to cook with them and learning about their texture and taste profile. I made a red split lentil curry a few days ago, which was my first time cooking with lentils, and eating them!
“I enjoyed it and would use them again, but I used a lot of spices to create this dish, which I won’t be able to do during the week.
“I also haven’t really used kidney beans outside of a chill-con-carne, so will be exploring with them over the coming weeks. I also will be finding ways to use ingredients I already use in new ways; for example, using rice and oil to make rice cakes or rice crackers.”
A recipe book is provided in the pack for ideas for different ways to use the ingredients, including a crepe recipe made using just flour, water and oil with no toppings.
Charlotte said: “I think it will be a shock from the diet I currently have. I usually will base my meal around a meat, and then add a few different vegetables and use a lot of seasoning and spices (or a pre-made recipe pack) to bring the meal together.
“I will then have a sweet dessert after dinner – whether it be a piece of fruit or a scoop of ice cream – so I won’t be able to do any of those luxuries for the week.
“There also won’t be any snacking - the food in the pack already needs to last for 21 meals, so I can’t afford to push this any further.
“I will be gradually cutting down my food intake in the lead up to this so it’s not too much of a shock to my body.”
To donate to Charlotte’s fundraiser. visit www.rationchallenge.org.uk/charlotte-young
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