Ration Meal

Wondering what you, your family or your church can do to remember people who are hungry?

One way is by eating a simple meal—a meal of toast and butter, or a ration meal, similar to what is provided in refugee camps—then donating the funds saved to help people in that region.

It’s a meaningful way to symbolically identify with people in that region, help children learn about hunger, and make a contribution to help people who don’t have enough to eat.

You can do it once, once a month, or once a week—however it suits you, your family, or your church.

What is a ration?

Rations change from situation to situation. Sometimes food is distributed ‘wet’ or already cooked, other times ‘dry’ rations are given, which people cook on their own. The Foodgrains Bank generally distributes dry rations – with enough quantity to cover a period of time – for a month or two.

The types of food vary from place to place, but the general quantities stay the same. The World Health Organization says a typical ration consists of 450 grams of cereal, 50 grams of pulses, 50 grams of oil, and 5 grams of iodized salt per person per day.

For example, people in Ethiopia who are involved in Foodgrains Bank-supported project in the Goro district are receiving half a kilogram of wheat, 50 grams of beans, and 50 grams of oil per person/per day. Because the project is in Ethiopia, famix, a supplementary food for young children and pregnant and lactating mothers, is also included. These rations are distributed on a monthly basis. In other places, people might receive rice and lentils or corn and beans.

Resources to help you plan your simple meal:


The recipes below are a way for you to experience what a mealtime might be like for someone receiving food aid in the developing world—a simple meal that can help you reflect on our abundance as Canadians, remember those who don’t have as much to eat, and then give to help others.

Click here for a red beans and rice recipe. A simple, and delicious, meal eaten every day around the world.

Click here for a simple flat bread recipe. In Pakistan, where the Foodgrains Bank supported food distributions following the massive flooding in 2010, many people used part of their ration that included wheat flour to make a simple flat bread. They ate this in the late morning for breakfast. Other times they would use the bread to scoop sauces made from lentils, meat, or vegetables.


Click here to download a poster to use for your own simple meal event.